Merriam-Webster’s 2022 word of the year: 'Gaslighting'

The term was the title of a 1938 play that involves a man trying to make his wife think she is going crazy.

Updated: November 28, 2022 - 1:27pm

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Merriam-Webster's word of the year for 2022 is "gaslighting," which it defined as "the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage."

Searches for "gaslighting" increased 1740% in 2022 from the previous year, the publishing company, known for its dictionary, said Monday.

The term was the title of a 1938 play that involves a man trying to make his wife think she is going crazy.

"In this age of misinformation – of 'fake news,' conspiracy theories, Twitter trolls, and deepfakes – gaslighting has emerged as a word for our time," Merriam-Webster said.

The dictionary also defines gaslighting as: "psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one's emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator."

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