Gaslit by Goblins – the dictionary definition

There is dissent among the lexicographers!

Whereas last year the Oxford English Dictionary (with the somewhat American-sounding diminutive ‘vax’) and Merriam-Webster (with the more formal, and somehow British sounding vaccine) concurred on word of the year, this time they have diverged.

For the M-W, this year’s word is ‘gaslighting’, a not-especially-new term used to describe a kind of cruel psychological manipulation. However, the OED put their favoured options (which included a phrase and a hashtag!) to a public vote, and came up with ‘goblin mode’.

What is ‘goblin mode’, you may ask? Some Tolkienesque monstrous tendency to murderous behaviour?

Goblin Mode?

No, apparently it is a term of online usage which is defined as “a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.”

In other words, the kind of behaviour one expects from people who consider hashtags to be words and eschew responsibility by putting their work out to a vote.

I feel like the OED has started gaslighting me. I’m team Merriam-Webster until the goblin mode ceases in Oxford.