Harshit Sabarwal (New Delhi)
American dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster named “Gaslighting” its word of year. The word was searched on Merriam-Webster’s website by 1,740 percent more people in 2022 than the previous year. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines gaslighting as psychological manipulation that causes a victim to doubt the validity of their thoughts, perceptions of reality or memories. It is usually accompanied by confusion, loss confidence, self-esteem, uncertainty about one’s mental or emotional stability and dependency on the perpetrator.
It is used frequently by those who abuse others in relationships, as well as politicians and other newsmakers.
Gaslighting can take place between romantic partners, in a larger family unit, or among friends. This can be used to mislead or as a corporate tactic.
Peter Sokolowski (editor-at-large at Merriam-Webster) spoke to Associated Press on Monday. He said, “It’s gaslighting” a word that has risen in English so rapidly, especially over the past four years that it surprised me and many others.”
Sokolowski said, “It was an word looked up often every single day of this year.” To earn the title of top dog word of year, he pointed out that “gaslighting” spent all of 2022 among the top 50 words searched on Merriam-Webster’s site.
Merriamword-Webster’s of the Year is chosen solely based on data. The Associated Press reported that Sokolowski and his team weeded out evergreen words that are most frequently looked up in order to determine which word had a significant increase in usage over the previous year.