"Goblin mode": Does Oxford's word of the year resonate with you?

Dec 6 2022, 3:53 pm

What comes to your mind when you hear “goblin mode”?

If it’s new to you, it won’t be for long — the term has resonated with thousands, if not millions, and ended up as Oxford University Press’s (OUP) Word of the Year 2022.

According to OUP, “goblin mode” is a slang term often used in the expressions “in goblin mode” or “to go goblin mode.”

You might have gone into goblin mode without even knowing it. It’s been a hot spot to be in since the pandemic began, in particular.

OUP describes it as “a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.”

Their research suggests that though the word was seen on the internet for the first time in 2009, its use saw an uptick in February 2022, probably due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions across the world.

Stay-at-home orders meant more people were lounging, laying aimlessly in bed, or having a snack in their unwashed pyjamas.

“Seemingly, [the term] captured the prevailing mood of individuals who rejected the idea of returning to ‘normal life,’ or rebelled against the increasingly unattainable aesthetic standards and unsustainable lifestyles exhibited on social media,” OUP says.

goblin mode


The runner-ups for OUP’s Word of the Year 2022 were “metaverse” and “#IStandWith.” The latter is a hashtag, but if you think about it, this year’s winner is also, technically, two words.

Some people have beef with Oxford for their picks.

In 2015, OUP’s word of the year was not even a word — it was an emoji. This one, to be exact: 😂.

For some of us, it’s a default mood. Did you find yourself in goblin mode at any point this year or earlier in the pandemic? Let us know in the comments.

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