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.
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”?
gaslighting myself into thinking im fine because i dont wanna give myself the time breakdown
— ` (@crestieyy) November 24, 2022
no babe I love when you gaslight me
healthy relationships scare me
— Hoes Be WILIN (@HoesBeWILIN___) November 25, 2022
My ex used to speak 5 languages English, toxic, manipulative, gaslighting and controlling.
— Tee (@teeespilt) November 26, 2022
If you see me irl and you message me saying I saw you, I will gaslight you into thinking it wasn’t me
— salina (@salinasageer_) November 27, 2022
gaslighting? cmon silly where’d you learn that word, that’s not real. was this your friends saying that? i told you they’re not good for you silly
— haz👻🧸 (@girlsterrifyme) November 28, 2022
no it isn't
gaslighting isn't even in the dictionary https://t.co/8QaW0jUSoL
— Skylinex13 (@Skylinex13) November 28, 2022
Look – I know you *believe* that "Gaslighting" is the word of the year.
But I'm here to tell you that it's not actually happening, ok?
— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) November 29, 2022
gaslighting doesn't exist, you're imagining things again
— Stonetoss Comics (@stone_toss) November 30, 2022