For the first time, public opinion will be the foremost deciding factor for the Oxford word of the year. The options for 2022 are 'metaverse', '#IStandWith' and the phrase 'goblin mode'. The options were chosen by a team of lexicographers from Oxford University Press - the publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary, according to whom, the words were "each relevant to the year in a different way".
The metaverse is a conceptual virtual world where people can live, work, shop, eat and make friends. According to the reports of BBC, the usage of word 'metaverse', has quadrupled in October 2022. The reason for this is attributed to two important changes that have occurred post-Covid; the age of virtual reality and work from home, The Oxford University Press has reportedly noted down the observation in comparison to the same month, last year.
The second option up for voting; the hashtag #IStandWith "recognizes the activism and division that has characterized this year" and is used by people expressing solidarity with a movement or cause, such as the Russia-Ukraine war, the team of lexicographers said. The hashtag has 2.8m views on TikTok, the team further added.
The last candidate for the entitlement of 'Oxford word of the year' is the phrase 'Goblin mode', which is a slang phrase dating back to 2009, according to Oxford University Press. It is used to describe someone as being lazy, greedy and self-indulgent, and in doing so, rejecting social norms. Again the role of COVID is vial in the increase usage of the phrase. The phrase was rediscovered at a time when people came out of lockdowns around the world and could relate more to its meaning, the team said.
The team further added that it saw a rise in interest when actress and model Julia Fox was linked to a fake headline using the phrase about her break up with rapper Kanye West. The opening of the vote to the public is a significant move, or to be more precise, a revolutionary move, as it is happening for the first time ever. According to the organizers, although the world was opened back up this year and physically reunited after Covid, unfortunately, it feels "more divided than ever", reports BBC.
According to Oxford, the 'Oxford Word of the Year' is a word or expression that is chosen annually, after several debates. The winner is decided on the basis that which among the top candidates reflects the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year and has lasting potential as a word of cultural significance.
It is also notable that, to have been selected as 'Word of the Year' means that a word has great resonance for the year in which it was chosen, but there is no guarantee that it, or the other words on the shortlist, will make it into an Oxford dictionary. However, chances are that even if the word is not added to the dictionary when it is announced as Word of the Year, it will be very soon.
The candidates for the Word of the Year are drawn from evidence gathered by Oxford's extensive language research program, including the Oxford Corpus, which gathers around 150 million words of current English from web-based publications each month. Software allows expert lexicographers to identify new and emerging words and examine the shifts in how more established words are being used. Dictionary editors also flag notable words for consideration throughout the year and use other sources of data to identify contenders. The Oxford team of Lexicographers regularly take into account the many suggestions sent through social media.
President of Oxford Languages Casper Grathwohl said, "Over the past year the world reopened, and it is in that spirit we're opening up the selection process for the 'Word of the Year' to language lovers everywhere." Other contenders this year were Platty Jubes - an internet term for the Queen's platinum jubilee - and quiet quitting - doing the minimum required for your job - but the choice was ultimately narrowed down to three.
The word that was entitled as the 'Oxford Word of the Year' for the previous year was 'vax', which rose to popularity with the emergence of the coronavirus vaccine and saw a surge in use. In 2020, Oxford languages decided there were too many contenders and the award included a range of winners including lockdown, bushfires and Covid-19, as well as Black Lives Matter, WFH (working from home), keyworkers and furlough. 'Permacrisis', a word describing the feeling of living through a period of war and political instability, was chosen by Collins Dictionary's as their word of the year for 2022. The winner will be announced on 5 December.