It looks like this year was the year of gaslighting… or was it?
Every year Merriam-Webster comes out with the word of the year and after a 1740% increase in google searches on ‘gaslighting’ it has taken out the title.
Gaslighting is the act of manipulating a person psychologically into doubting their own sanity. According to Merriam-Webster, it’s the new popular word to describe deception. Other words that are popular alongside gaslighting are ‘fake news’, ‘deep fakes’ and misinformation.
On TikTok, you’ll find thousands of videos about gaslighting and plenty of them are associated with narcissism. The most popular videos are about how to respond to gaslighting, phrases that are commonly used by gaslighters and real-life examples of it.
We can thank the 1938 play ‘Gaslight’ for first introducing the word to us. In the play, a husband tries to trick his wife into thinking she’s going insane.
“Hamilton's play is a dark tale of a marriage based on deceit and trickery, and a husband committed to driving his wife insane in order to steal from her.”
The play later turned into a film that was released in 1940 and later remade in 1944 that was incredibly successful and the noun ‘gaslight’ took off!
Omicron and Queen Consort were also popular words this year which isn’t too surprising as Queen Elizabeth the Second’s death and Covid-19 were two huge moments in 2022.
Here’s hoping we have a more positive word of the year in 2023!