Gaslighting is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2022

In an age of misleading information, deception, and conspiracy theories, the American dictionary describes the phrase as “a word for our time.”

Gaslighting is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2022

The Merriam-Webster dictionary’s term of the year is gaslighting, which defines behaviour that manipulates the mind, is deceptive, and plain fraudulent.

In 2022, searches for the term on merriam-webster.com climbed 1,740% over the previous year. But there was something else that made it the word of the year. There was no particular incident that caused considerable increases in searches, as is generally the case with the chosen term.

The gaslighting was all-encompassing.

“It’s a word that has risen so quickly in the English language and especially in the last four years that it actually came as a surprise to me and to many of us,” Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor-at-large, said in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of Monday’s unveiling.

“It was a word looked up frequently every single day of the year,” he said.

While other frequently searched words, such as “omicron” and “queen consort,” refer to specific events or episodes from 2022, Merriam-Webster defines “gaslighting” as a phenomenon that isn’t fleeting but rather an ingrained part of our lives.

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In 2022, there were deepfakes and the dark web. There were deep states and fake news. And there was a whole lot of trolling.

Have you ever heard the term “gaslighting”?

Written by Shazia Gulzar

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