Goblin Mode – Oxford’s 2022 Word of the Year

For the first time, the Oxford Word of the Year was chosen by the public. More than 300,000 English speakers voted over two weeks to choose among three words screened by the editors at the Oxford University Press. Goblin mode won the highest number of votes, making it Oxford’s word of the year for 2022. It was followed by “Metaverse” and “#IStandWith”.

What is Goblin Mode?

  • Goblin mode is a slang term that describes a type of behavior that is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, generally rejecting social norms and expectations.
  • The term speaks to the current times when people are embracing their inner goblin and choosing to reject the accepted social customs.
  • It comes at a time when there is a widespread demand for changes when it comes to global climate, international politics, or bodily rights.
  • The word “goblin mode” made its first appearance on Twitter in 2009. It became viral on Twitter in February 2022 over a fake news headline that claimed model-actor Julia Fox and her ex-partner Kanye West broke up because “he didn’t like when she went goblin mode”.
  • On Tiktok, the #goblinmode is used often as a contrast to the idealised manifestation of being one’s best version.
  • The word goblin mode is used to acknowledge that individuals are not always idealized, curated selves that they force themselves to present in social media platforms.

Metaverse and #IStandWith

The Oxford University Press (OUP) defines metaverse as a hypothetical virtual reality environment in which users can interact with each other’s avatars and their surroundings in an immersive way, sometimes having the potential to extend or replace the internet, World Wide Web, social media etc. The term was first included in the Oxford Dictionary in 1992 after it was mentioned in the science fiction novel “Snow Crash” written by Neal Stephenson.

#IStandWith hashtag has been at the center of growing instances of online activism and expression of one’s solidarity with a cause, movement or person on social media. The origin of the phrase “to stand with” can be traced back to the 14th century. The hashtag became highly popular in the first decade of the 21st century. In 2022, it was mainly used in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to show solidarity with the war-hit country.




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