The internet’s thoughts on the Oxford’s word of the year: ‘Goblin Mode’

goblin mode

The prestigious Oxford Dictionary has appointed the special position of word of the year to a very devilish word, or two indeed: "goblin mode". Perhaps this year's word feels as though it was selected by a hoard of deranged Twitter users because, well it was. "Goblin mode" earned 2022's word of the year by popular opinion for the first time, garnering over 300,000 points in a poll that was answered by the people of the internet earning it the top spot in the pantheon of language.

Wondering where you've heard the phrase before? We would be remiss if we didn't bring up the Julia Fox of it all, as she was linked kicking and screaming to the word when someone tweeted a photoshopped headline about her break up with Kanye West suggesting that Fox said West didn't like it when she went "goblin mode". She has since addressed said "goblin mode" allegations, declaring she'd never used the term.

The dictionary decided it wanted to be hip this year, after sticking to an aptly predictable word last year with "Vax". Goblin mode feels like the mischievous younger sibling to the feral girl who entered the chat in spring to our utter delight as an antithesis of the 'clean girl'.

What does "goblin mode" mean?

The Oxford dictionary describes "Goblin mode" thusly: "a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations."

Surprised by this choice? So was Oxford. "We were hoping the public would enjoy being brought into the process, but this level of engagement with the campaign caught us totally by surprise," Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Languages, said. "The strength of the response highlights how important our vocabulary is to understanding who we are and processing what’s happening to the world around us."

According to Ben Zimmer, American linguist and lexicographer, “Goblin Mode really does speak to the times and the zeitgeist, and it is certainly a 2022 expression. People are looking at social norms in new ways. It gives people the license to ditch social norms and embrace new ones.”

Some of the internet's reactions to the ghoulish phrase:

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Image source: One, Two, Three