Gaslighting is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year 2022
Little by little, various services and sites are starting to sum up the results of 2022. Here, for example, is the website of the publishing house Merriam-Webster, which for 180 years has been publishing one of of the most influential dictionaries of the English language – American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster, or simply Webster’s Dictionary, already chose word 2022. It’s the word Gaslighting.
Gaslighting – 1) 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; 2) the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage.
Interestingly, the word that conveys the sensation of flickering kerosene lighting comes from Gas Light, the title of a 1938 play and films Gaslight 1940 and 1944, filmed based on the play. The latter starred Ingrid Bergman, who won the 1944 Oscar for Best Actress thanks to it. In addition, the film also won an Oscar for “The best work of the production designer.”
In the plots of the play and the films, the husband tries to make his wife believe that she is crazy. His actions in the attic cause the gaslight in the house to dim, but he insists that the light is not dimming and that she cannot trust her own perception.
In today’s age of misinformation, fake news, conspiracy theories, and deepfakes, Gaslighting has become the buzzword of our time. During 2022, there was a 1740% increase in the number of queries with the word Gaslighting.
Other popular words of 2022: