Merriam-Webster, the top online dictionary, has named ‘gaslighting’ as its word of the year for 2022.


The platform disclosed this in a statement via its website on Monday.

Gaslighting, according to the dictionary,  is “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one’s own advantage.”

According to the statement, the outgoing year saw a 1740 per cent increase in lookups for the word when compared to last year.


The dictionary also said the meaning of the word has become “simpler and broader” in recent years than when it was first used in the 20th century.

“Its origins are colorful: the term comes from the title of a 1938 play and the movie based on that play, the plot of which involves a man attempting to make his wife believe that she is going insane,” it reads.

“His mysterious activities in the attic cause the house’s gas lights to dim, but he insists to his wife that the lights are not dimming and that she can’t trust her own perceptions.”


The dictionary said in recent years, the word is “at home with other terms relating to modern forms of deception and manipulation, such as fake news, deepfake, and artificial intelligence”.

Merriam-Webster further said the emergence of gaslighting as its word of the year followed an increase in technologies and channels for misleading people.

“In recent years, with the vast increase in channels and technologies used to mislead, gaslighting has become the favored word for the perception of deception. This is why (trust us!) it has earned its place as our Word of the Year,” the statement also reads.

The dictionary said other words with top lookups in 2022 include ‘sentient,’ ‘omicron,’ and ‘queen consort’.


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