Public asked to vote for Oxford Dictionary word of the year for 2022

Voters can choose between ‘goblin mode’, ‘metaverse’ and ‘#IStandWith’

Laura Hampson
Tuesday 22 November 2022 08:52 GMT
Collins English Dictionary reveals 2022's 'word of the year'

What’s one word or phrase that sums up 2022 for you?

If it happens to be “goblin mode”, “metaverse”, or “#IStandWith”, then you can pick your favourite for Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year.

It’s the first time Oxford Languages has opened up its annual word of the year listing to a public vote, attributing the decision to people around the world being “the true arbiters of language”.

Voting for the Oxford word of the year 2022 is now open, with the team of expert lexicographers narrowing it down to the three words they felt most represented this year.

“2022 has been a year defined by opening back up. However, although we have finally been able to physically reunite and come together again, our world somehow feels more divided than ever,” Oxford Languages said in a statement.

“In recognition of this shift, we wanted to open up the final step of our word of the year selection process to the true arbiters of language: people around the world. How we communicate and develop the English language affects Oxford’s selection every year, but for the first time in its history, the 2022 Word of the Year will be chosen by the public.”

For “metaverse”, the lexicographers said: “We see the conceptual future brought into the vernacular in 2022. From hybrid working in VR, to debates over the ethics and feasibility of an entirely online future, usage of this word has quadrupled in October 2022 compared to the same period last year.”

They added that “#IStandWith” recognises the “activism and division” that has characterised 2022. “From war in Ukraine, to the Depp v Heard lawsuit, this ‘word’ coined on social media to align your views to a cause or person can often further foster dispute (and sometimes even hate speech) in its polarizing nature,” they continued.

As for “goblin mode”, this term spiked earlier this year as the idea of rejecting societal expectations put upon us, in favour of doing whatever one wants to do. While it originated in 2009/10, the dictionary credited Julia Fox with bringing it into the mainstream.

There have been over 30,000 votes at the time of writing, and voting will close at 00.01am on Friday 2 December.

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