'Metaverse' lost the word of the year contest to 'goblin mode'




Mark Zuckerberg showed full avatar at Meta connect event
Mark Zuckerberg showed full avatar at Meta connect event  
  • "Goblin mode" is Oxford English Dictionary's word of the year after going viral in February.

  • "Metaverse" made the short list but lost out in the final round.

  • Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is going all in on the metaverse, hoping to propel it into the mainstream.

The metaverse is no match for "goblin mode."

Oxford Languages, the publisher of Oxford English Dictionary, named "goblin mode" the 2022 Word of the Year, after opening up the voting to the public for the first time in its history two weeks ago. It beat out two other finalists: "metaverse" and "#IStandWith."

Oxford defined Word of the Year as "a word or expression reflecting the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the past twelve months, one that has potential as a term of lasting cultural significance." "Vax" was last year's winner.

Winning the word of the year contest does not guarantee the word will be added to an Oxford dictionary, according to Oxford University Press, but it could be.

Regarding "goblin mode," it wrote that it's "a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations."

The phrase originated over a decade ago, but went viral this year after a fake headline using the term was shared across Twitter in February.

The headline, falsely attributed to Bollywood news site Pinkvilla, incorrectly quoted actress and model Julia Fox as saying that her ex Kanye West "didn't like when I went goblin mode," something she never said.

"The term then rose in popularity over the months following as Covid lockdown restrictions eased in many countries and people ventured out of their homes more regularly," Oxford wrote about "goblin mode."

"Seemingly, it captured the prevailing mood of individuals who rejected the idea of returning to 'normal life', or rebelled against the increasingly unattainable aesthetic standards and unsustainable lifestyles exhibited on social media," it added.

"Metaverse" came in second place. Oxford said that it "gained voting traction with crypto communities and publications."

"As we grapple with relatively new concepts like hybrid working in the virtual reality space, metaverse is particularly pertinent to debates about the ethics and feasibility of an entirely online future," Oxford wrote.

Mark Zuckerberg has been one of the biggest proponents for shepherding the metaverse into the mainstream, after renaming his company from Facebook to Meta. He sees the metaverse as the next stage of the internet, and Meta has invested billions of dollars into his passion project.

The company has faced economic headwinds this year, as have other tech companies, with sweeping layoffs. All the while, the size of its metaverse investment has drawn criticism from some investors and its software efforts in the space have hit numerous roadblocks, according to recent reports.

But while "metaverse" couldn't top "goblin mode," maybe Zuckerberg can take solace that it gained enough traction to be in the running this year.

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