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Gaslighting Is 2022 Word Of The Year

According to online dictionary Merriam-Webster, gaslighting was the most looked-up word of the year 2022. In its official report, the website claimed that there was an increase of 1,740% lookups for its meaning.

What does gaslighting mean? Here is how the English language authority journal defines it:

psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one’s emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator

If you are an avid social media user, especially Twitter and Facebook where discussions and arguments are encouraged in the replies, you may have likely come across the word several times.

The rise of technology-driven tools of deception and manipulation deserves credit for the popularity of gaslighting in 2022. No wonder Merriam-Webster mentions that the word is related to other terms like fake news, deepfake, and artificial intelligence, which are all used to manipulate others.

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Gaslighting comes from a 1938 play where a man hatches an elaborate plot to make his wife reach the conclusion that she is going insane. One of the things he does is to cause the house gas lights to dim and when the wife points it out, he insists that the lights were not dimming.

“Unlike lying, which tends to be between individuals, and fraud, which tends to involve organizations, gaslighting applies in both personal and political contexts,” Merriam-Webster’s website said.

Besides gaslighting, other words like oligarch, omicron, codify, LGBTQIA, sentient, loamy, raid, and queen consort were listed among the most famous words this year.

Of these remaining words, technology played direct or indirect roles in their popularity. For example, sentient began gaining interest after a former Google engineer claimed that the company’s AI chatbot had begun to exhibit consciousness like a human.

You can read up on why the other words were the most looked-up in 2022.

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.