The dictionary has been putting out a word of the year since 2003, spotlighting words that have been looked up at an increased rate in the year, as well as using polls to narrow it down. 2020’s word was “pandemic”, and 2021’s was “vaccine.”
Merriam-Webster defines gaslighting as “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage.” It comes from the 1938 play (later a 1944 movie) called “Gas Light,” where a man convinces his wife that she’s imagining the lights dimming in order to convince her that she’s losing her mind, so that he can steal from her.
Merriam-Webster noted, “2022 saw a 1740% increase in lookups for gaslighting, with high interest throughout the year.”
The nine runner-up words of 2022 were: oligarch, Omicron, codify, LGBTQIA, sentient, loamy, raid, and Queen Consort. For more about why these words became popular searches in 2022, check out Merriam-Webster’s website.
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