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‘Goblin Mode’ is Oxford’s 2022 Word of the Year

The phrase won with 318,956 votes.

Over the weekend, the Oxford University Press, publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary, held a public vote to determine 2022’s Word of the Year, the word or phrase that best epitomizes the current state of mind of English speakers. Unlike in previous years, where the Word was selected by an internal council, this was the first time the Word was selected by public vote. One of the front-runners of the contest was “metaverse,” but after some concentrated campaigning, a different candidate came out on top.

With a landslide victory of 318,956 votes, a whopping 93% of those polled, Oxford’s 2022 Word of the Year is “goblin mode.” The phrase is officially defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations”.

In a public statement, Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford Languages, praised the participants for their participation and selection. “We were hoping the public would enjoy being brought into the process, but this level of engagement with the campaign caught us totally by surprise.

“The strength of the response highlights how important our vocabulary is to understanding who we are and processing what’s happening to the world around us.

“Given the year we’ve just experienced, ‘goblin mode’ resonates with all of us who are feeling a little overwhelmed at this point. It’s a relief to acknowledge that we’re not always the idealized, curated selves that we’re encouraged to present on our Instagram and TikTok feeds.”

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