Gaslighting is Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year


Sebastian Diligent

In 2022, searches for “gaslighting” increased by 1740%, maintaining high interest throughout the year according to Merriam-Webster.

Sebastian Diligent, Staff Writer

The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary announced “gaslighting” as their 2022 word of the year . The choice of gaslighting reflects the toxicity of modern culture and the way newer generations treat each other.

According to Merriam-Webster, “gaslighting” means to manipulate someone by psychological means into questioning their own sanity, and normally carries a negative connotation.

The word “gaslit” comes from a 1934 British play called GasLight, written by Patrick Hamilton. “Gaslighting” has been around for many years, but did not kick up in popularity until recent years. 

“Gaslighting is a new word to me. To be perfectly honest I dont really hear the word gaslighting all too often. I think the people who participate in gaslighting aren’t very honest,maybe they are trying to put one over somebody for financial gain,” said Pleasanton resident Mary Fried.

People use gaslighting in person especially in abusive relationships. An example of this is an individual calling their partner crazy and making them think something the individual doesn’t actually believe. Violent partners often gaslight by denying that abuse happened.

“I think manipulative people participate in gaslighting. Using the word gaslighting is situational and it’s typically used in a negative way and is bad. Typically bad types of people tend to gaslight,” said Mason Basbas (‘23).

Social media causes people to participate in gaslighting more often. This happens because there is so much information online and they can feel less guilty gaslighting someone who isn’t face to face with them. An example of this can be if a person or group is experiencing accusations via comments on social media, it can be considered social media gaslighting.

“ I hate to blame everything on social media but I think people have information 24/7 at their fingertips and I think there is no time for reaction or thought they just read and react.No I do not use gaslighting myself” said Fried.

Gaslighting seems to reflect the way generations such as Generation Z and Millennials treat each other. This can be from a variety of things such as social media such as Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

An example of gaslighting can be that Ellen Degenres was exposed for treating her crew very poorly and with disrespect. Katy Perry saw this and gaslight her fans by saying she has only seen positive takeaways with her time with Ellen and the way she treats people.

“Gaslighting is becoming more common in this society and our generation. I mostly hear the word gaslighting among people around our age, mostly around generation Z. Like high school age and college age” said Baptist.