Word of the year goes to ‘gaslighting’

Merriam-Webster has announced the word of the year is gaslighting, followed closely by cancel culture and oligarch.

Last year’s Word of the Year went to Vaccine, no real surprises there, we seemed to have moved past the de rigueur of the Covid Era (we hope), but it seems the result of being cooped up for so long, left us all a little tetchy.

What else can be assumed from Merriam-Webster’s word of the year ‘gaslighting’? 

Credit: Westworld

The origin of ‘gaslighting’ comes from the 1938 play ‘Gaslight’ by Patrick Hamilton, which was adapted into a film by Tharold Dickinson in 1940, which starred Ingrid Bergman. 

History aside, the search for gaslighting increased a whopping 1740% this year. According to America’s most trusted online dictionary, it turns out we have a penchant for calling out bullshit from all quarters, from the widespread misinformation on socials and media to being the recipient of ‘Im sorry you feel that way’ (but not really) approach. 

Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s Editor at Large shared: “The increase in dictionary lookups for gaslighting is striking. In our age of misinformation—’fake news,’ conspiracy theories, Twitter trolls, and deepfakes—gaslighting has emerged as a word for our time. From politics to pop culture to relationships, it has become a favored word for the perception of deception.”

Mirriam – Webster shared a couple of examples in media, as to how the word has been used, the first being something we can all relate to:

The “I’m sorry you feel that way” as a way to avoid an argument in lieu of admitting fault, is good old-fashioned gaslighting. — Psychology Today, 29 March 2022

Patients who have felt that their symptoms were inappropriately dismissed as minor or primarily psychological by doctors are using the term “medical gaslighting” to describe their experiences and sharing their stories.— The New York Times, 28 March 2022

My Committee’s investigation leaves no doubt that, in the words of one company official, Big Oil is ‘gaslighting’ the public. These companies claim they are part of the solution to climate change, but internal documents reveal that they are continuing with business as usual. — Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, 14 September 2022

Other words up for consideration were:

Cancel culture






Loamy [because of Quordle!]


Queen consort