Word of the year 2022

This article, originally published on 26 November, was updated several times in the following weeks as remaining results were announced.

Homer Wordle uproar on Twitter

The results for English word of the year 2022 are starting to come in. In some cases you can take part in a vote. Here are a few of the awards pending or already announced.


  • This is Cambridge Dictionary‘s curious word of the year 2022. You might be wondering, as I was, how this could happen. It turns out that “homer”, a colloquial term for a “home run” in baseball, featured in a Wordle1 puzzle in May, causing thousands of unsuccessful Wordle players to reach for their dictionaries.

goblin mode

  • For the first time, this year’s Oxford Dictionaries choice was decided from a shortlist by a popular vote. The words on the shortlist were
    • “goblin mode”: a slang term that refers to behaviour that is “unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations”
    • “#IStandWith”: a hashtag used to express solidarity online
    • “metaverse”: a term from Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science-fiction novel Snow Crash that refers to a virtual reality environment

teal & bachelor’s handbag

The committee’s choice is:
an independent political candidate who holds generally ideologically moderate views, but who supports strong action regarding environmental and climate action policies, and the prioritising of integrity in politics. [so called as many of the candidates use the colour teal in their electoral material]

The people’s choice is
bachelor’s handbag
Colloquial (humorous) a takeaway roast chicken. [from the fact that such a chicken requires no further preparation before consumption, so is seen as an easy meal favoured by a single person, and is often packaged in a small plastic bag with a handle, resembling a handbag]


  • Dictionary.com has made an unusual choice (announced on 13th December), by selecting a very common old word. As they say, “Our selection of woman as our 2022 Word of the Year reflects how the intersection of gender, identity, and language dominates the current cultural conversation and shapes much of our work as a dictionary.”


  • On 29 November Merriam-Webster’s announced that gaslighting is its choice for 2022. They define gaslighting as “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for a personal advantage”.Other popular look-ups they listed for 2022 include oligarch, omicron, endemic, codify, LGBTQIA, sentient, loamy, raid and Queen Consort,.


  • Collins chose this term describing ‘an extended period of instability and insecurity’. “It is one of several words Collins highlights that relate to ongoing crises the UK and the world have faced and continue to face, including political instability, the war in Ukraine, climate change, and the cost-of-living crisis.”

  1. The Wordle word game has been an international phenomenon in 2022. In January the original game was acquired by The New York Times, where it is published as a daily puzzle. Wordle has since been made available in many other languages including French, German, Spanish and Catalan.
Richard Samson
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About Richard Samson

I’m a teacher living in Osona, Spain. I'm into tennis, dogs, and chickens. I’m also interested in translation and Moodle (well, digital tools for teaching, in general).
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