Ever since 2003, America’s oldest dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster reveals the one word that was amongst the most searched that year. This word usually reflects the cultural and political mood of the year and, over the years, is selected from the hottest buzzwords of the time.
For 2022, the word that has been selected, based on search statistics and a voter’s poll, is ‘gaslighting’. Yes, the term that is often used to describe emotionally abusive behaviour in relationships and discriminatory malpractices at work has been revealed to be the most searched word of the year. The official number states that the search for the word increased 1,740% this year.
According to Merriam-Webster, the word means “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one’s own advantage”.
The dictionary publisher chalks it up to us living in an era of misinformation, whether it’s the popularly circulated ‘fake news’ or the alarming rise of deep fakes.
“In this age of misinformation - of ‘fake news’, conspiracy theories, Twitter trolls, and deep fakes - gaslighting has emerged as a word for our time,” read a statement from Merriam-Webster.
Interestingly enough, the word originates from a 1938 play called Gaslight that got adapted into an Oscar-winning movie in 1944.
In the movie, a husband tries to trick his wife into thinking that she’s going crazy by convincing her that the dimming gaslights in their attics are working alright to hide his mysterious activities.
Other words in contention were ‘oligarch’, ‘omicron’, ‘codify’, ‘LGBTQIA’, ‘sentient’, ‘queen consort’, ‘loamy’, and ‘raid’.
What do you think of the pick?
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