As we reach the end of 2022, people are putting together lists of things that defined the past 365 days. Each year, Oxford lexicographers choose a word of the year, and 2022’s is “goblin mode.” What exactly does that mean?
‘Goblin Mode’ Was The First Publicly Chosen Word Of The Year
Oxford University Press is one of the many organizations that chooses a word of the year. The team that selects the word is made up of lexicographers, consultants, and editorial, marketing, and publicity staff.
This year, the team also got a helping hand from the public. 2022 marks the first year the Oxford word of the year was chosen by public vote.
There were three potential words voters could have chosen, but “goblin mode” won out with 93% of the total (318,956 votes). The runner-up was “metaverse” with 14,484 votes, followed by “#IStandWith” with 8,639 votes.
What Does ‘Goblin Mode’ Mean?
So, what does “goblin mode” mean? According to the Oxford University Press, the phrase describes “a type of behavior which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.”
It’s a slang term that gained traction online, and people typically use it in expressions like “I’m going goblin mode” or “I’m in goblin mode.”
The phrase actually originated in 2009 but didn’t enter the internet’s lexicon until this year, when a fake headline claiming actress Julia Fox said she was in “goblin mode” went viral.
President Of Oxford Languages Says The Phrase ‘Resonates’ With Anyone Feeling ‘A Little Overwhelmed’
Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford Languages, discussed his excitement about the public’s enthusiasm for being a part of the word of the year selection process, saying it “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,” Grathwohl shared, per the BBC.
“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.”
Many people might have been surprised to hear that “goblin mode” was named the word of the year by Oxford, but the popular online phrase is the perfect way to describe a moment where you might be happily on your worst behavior.