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'Goblin mode' is the word of 2022 - what does it mean

‘Goblin Mode’ Is Oxford Dictionary’s 2022 Word of the Year

The Oxford Dictionary has revealed its Word of the Year, which may come as a surprise.

Over the last few weeks, more than 300,000 people cast their votes. Participants decided that 'goblin mode' summed up 2022 perfectly – which is pretty ironic, considering many people have been left wondering what it means.

'Goblin mode' has been officially described as a slang term, "often used in the expressions ‘in goblin mode’ or ‘to go goblin mode’ – is a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations."

Makes sense.

The phrase racked up 93 per cent of the public vote, out shadowing the likes of 'metaverse' and '#IStandWith'. It even got an honourable mention in Australia's Macquarie Dictionary 2022 Word of the Year race.

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So, where did 'goblin mode' come from?

It first emerged on Twitter in 2009 but more notably went viral on the platform in February 2022. It has since made its way into the media after being featured in a mocked-up headline.

The term continued to soar in popularity following the ease of Covid lockdown restrictions, with people venturing out of their homes. It appears to capture the tone of people adjusting back to 'normality', and those who rebelled against the unsustainable lifestyles exhibited on social media.

The Oxford Corpus listed several uses of the phrase, including “Goblin mode is like when you wake up at 2am and shuffle into the kitchen wearing nothing but a long t-shirt to make a weird snack, like melted cheese on saltines”, as quoted in The Guardian.

The Times also stated that “too many of us… have gone ‘goblin mode’ in response to a difficult year.”

'Goblin mode' follows 2021's Word of the Year 'vax' – which was pretty fitting for the 12 months prior.

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