Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Goblin Mode and other Gems

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Jan• 22•23

I’m always collecting word gems, aren’t you? Do you keep an active word list to update and refresh your vocabulary?

The first Word of the Year voted by the public for the Oxford Dictionary is goblin mode. As you might guess, goblin mode is not an attractive state of being. Think slothful and freeing.

The annual word is usually based on ‘useage evidence,’ but this year a vote was used, though it was limited to the top three words and beat out #IStandWith and metaverse.  Am I the only one who hadn’t heard of it before?

Here’s a great piece by Caleb Madison in The Atlantic that calls it ‘gloriusly evocative phrase that tells a concise story about how many of us are doing these days’. And Madison uses goblinesque. Then goes on to explain more about goblins such as how they like to hang out in cozy places and how the COVID pandemic led to um, gobinesque behaviors. I now have a sincere crush on him.

And since I cannot stopper my pleausure at the voters’ choice, here’s The New York Times delightful piece on goblin mode. Jennifer Schuessler makes the point that gaming is influencing language. Ahem. She also references how Merriam-Websters Word of the Year for 2022 was gaslighting, though might I add they seem late to the party with this one. Don’t you agree?

Most recently added to my list:lip-worshiper, wangle, hoodwink, killjoy, earlywood, latewood, wuffle, dog-hungry, paucity, gruntled, drubbing

Keep collecting out there….because writers are scavengers


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