The dictionary publisher Oxford Languages has named “Goblin mode” as the new word of the year. But what does the term actually mean, and what does it say about our times?
On Monday, Oxford Languages, the world’s leading dictionary publisher, published this year’s new word: “Goblin mode”.
The expression roughly means “Troll mode” in Swedish and describes, according to the publisher, “a type of behavior that is unabashedly self-centered, lax, unkempt, or greedy, usually in a way that rejects social norms and expectations.”
“People are embracing their inner trolls”
“Goblin mode” – which actually first appeared on Twitter back in 2009 – was voted Word of the Year following Oxford Language’s first public poll. According to the publisher’s chairman, Casper Grathwohl, the popularity of the expression says a lot about the state of the world right now:
“After the year we’ve just experienced, ‘goblin mode’ is something that all of us who are feeling a little overwhelmed at this point can relate to,” he says and continues:
“It’s a relief to admit that we’re not always the idealized, carefully groomed versions of ourselves that we’re encouraged to show off on our Instagram and TikTok feeds. This has been evidenced by the dramatic rise of platforms like BeReal, where users share unretouched photos of themselves, often in goblin mode.”
He also believes that the expression will likely continue to be relevant for quite some time to come:
“People are embracing their inner goblins, and that those who voted chose ‘goblin fashion’ as the word of the year tells us that the concept is here to stay.”