“Goblin Mode” is the Oxford University Press Word of the Year 2022


As you read this, look around you. are you still in bed Are there piles of clothes and take away food boxes strewn across the floor? Do you have chip crumbs on your sheets? Have you broken your self-care routine more times than you can count? Do not you care? Then you might already be in “goblin mode” – voted Oxford Word of the Year 2022 by the public.

According to Oxford University Press (OUP), the editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, the slang term refers to a type of behavior that is “unapologetically smug, lazy, sloppy, or greedy, typically in a way that defies social norms or expectations.” ’ – traits that may have become familiar to many during the lockdown.

Social media can portray idealized versions of self-improvement, from waking up at 5am and drinking a green smoothie to journaling, exercising, and planning your weekly meal prep.

This era could be on the way to an end. In its place is Goblin mode – the opposite of trying to improve yourself.

The OUP Word of the Year – also known as the Oxford Word of the Year – was voted for by the public for the first time. A group of lexicographers at OUP gave people a choice between: “Goblin Mode”, “Metaverse” and “#IStandWith”.

“Goblin Mode” triumphed, garnering 318,956 votes – 93% of the total. “Metaverse” came in second and “#IStandWith” third.

Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Languages ​​at the OUP, said in a press release on Monday that “the level of engagement with the campaign has taken us completely by surprise”.

“Given the year we’ve just lived through, ‘Goblin Mode’ resonates with all of us who are feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point. It’s a relief to realize that we’re not always the idealized, curated selves we’re meant to portray on our Instagram and TikTok feeds,” he said.

The term was first used in 2009 but went viral on social media earlier this year, the OUP said. It broke after a fake headline claimed that the rapper formerly known as Kanye West and Julia Fox had split after she “went into goblin mode.”

“The term then gained popularity in the months that followed as Covid lockdown restrictions eased in many countries and people ventured out of their homes more regularly,” according to the OUP.

“Apparently, it captured the prevailing mood of individuals rejecting the idea of ​​a return to ‘normal life,’ or rebelling against the increasingly unattainable aesthetic standards and unsustainable lifestyles being showcased on social media.”

The popularity of the term may also be related to the growth of new social media sites like BeReal, which randomly invite users to post a photo of what they’re doing once a day. Goodbye carefully curated social media feeds. Hello goblin mode.

The press release includes examples of when the term was used. One of the most vivid was quoted in The Guardian: “Goblin mode is like waking up at 2am and shuffling into the kitchen in nothing but a long t-shirt to make a weird snack, like melted cheese on pretzel sticks .”

“People are embracing their inner leprechaun, and voters are choosing ‘leprechaun mode,’ as Word of the Year tells us the concept is likely to stick,” Grathwohl added.

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