Oxford Dictionaries names ‘goblin mode’ its word of the year

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. sum up / sʌm ʌp / (phrasal v.) – to tell the main points of something using fewer words

    At the end of her presentation, Nicole summed up the findings of her report.

  2. self-indulgent / ˈsɛlf ɪnˈdʌl dʒənt / (adj.) – allowing oneself to do or have whatever one wants, usually to an excessive degree

    Living a self-indulgent lifestyle is a waste of money.

  3. slovenly / ˈslʌv ən li / (adj.) – untidy or unclean

    His roommates don’t like him for his slovenly habits.

  4. resonate / ˈrɛz əˌneɪt / (v.) – to have a personal or emotional meaning for someone

    The doctor’s speech resonated with the graduating students who want to save people’s lives.

  5. preoccupation / priˌɒk yəˈpeɪ ʃən / (n.) – something that one thinks about most of the time

    I talk to my counselor about my preoccupations.


Read the text below.

Asked to sum up 2022 in a word, the public has chosen a phrase.

Oxford Dictionaries said that “goblin mode” has been selected by online vote as its word of the year.

It defines the term as “a type of behavior which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.”

First seen on Twitter in 2009, “goblin mode” gained popularity in 2022 as people around the world emerged uncertainly from pandemic lockdowns.

“Given the year we’ve just experienced, ‘goblin mode’ resonates with all of us who are feeling a little overwhelmed at this point,” said Oxford Languages President Casper Grathwohl.

The word of the year is intended to reflect “the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the past twelve months.” For the first time in 2022, the winning phrase was chosen by public vote, from among three finalists selected by Oxford Languages lexicographers: goblin mode, metaverse and the hashtag IStandWith.

Despite being relatively unknown offline, goblin mode was the overwhelming favorite, winning 93% of the more than 340,000 votes cast.

The choice is more evidence of a world unsettled after years of pandemic turmoil, and by the huge changes in behavior and politics brought by social media.

Merriam-Webster announced that its word of the year is “gaslighting” — psychological manipulation intended to make a person question the validity of their own thoughts.

In 2021 the Oxford word of the year was “vax” and Merriam-Webster’s was “vaccine.”

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Oxford Dictionaries chose “Goblin mode” as the word of the year. Do you agree with this choice? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • If you were to pick an English word as the word of the year, what word would you choose? How about a word from your own language? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • For the first time in 2022, the winning phrase was chosen by public vote. Do you think the word of the year should continue to be chosen by the public? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • What do you think is the importance of knowing the word of the year? Discuss.