Have you been “unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations” at any point during 2022?
If so then you’ve been in “goblin mode”, Oxford Languages’ newly announced word (or phrase) of the year.
For the first time, the home of the Oxford English Dictionary asked the public to vote for this year’s word, presenting three options shortlisted by lexicographers.
Goblin mode beat “metaverse” and “#IStandWith” in a landslide result, picking up 93% of more than 340,000 votes cast, the dictionary company said.
Casper Grathwohl, Oxford Languages president, said: “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 idealised, curated selves that we’re encouraged to present on our Instagram and TikTok feeds.
“This has been demonstrated by the dramatic rise of platforms like BeReal where users share images of their unedited selves, often capturing self-indulgent moments in goblin mode.
“People are embracing their inner goblin, and voters choosing ‘goblin mode’ as the word of the year tells us the concept is likely here to stay.”
What is goblin mode?
Reportedly first used on Twitter in 2009, the phrase gained popularity this year as people around the world emerged uncertainly from pandemic lockdowns.
The phrase rose to the fore in rejection of returning “back to normal” after a false quote posted by a Twitter user about model Julia Fox’s break-up with Kanye West went viral and was picked up by some news and media outlets.
The word of the year is intended to reflect “the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the past 12 months”, Oxford Languages said.
Other dictionaries have already announced their words for 2022 – Collins chose “permacrisis”, meaning “an extended period of instability and insecurity”; Merriam-Webster’s is “gaslighting” – psychological manipulation intended to make a person question the validity of their own thoughts; Cambridge Dictionary picked “homer” – you can find out why it annoyed people here.
Goblin mode follows “vax”, Oxford’s word of the year for 2021.
According to digital consumer intelligence company Brandwatch, usage of the phrase goblin mode was 24,551% higher from 1 January to 5 December 2022 than the three years before.
So far this year, the hashtag #GoblinMode gained 30 million impressions on Twitter, it said.