A gaslighting concept, mental health problems in relationships, a sign decorated as an industrial warning plate

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Merriam-Webster’s word of the year is ‘gaslighting.’ The NY Post reports:

The newly common term for lying to someone in order to mentally manipulate them topped Merriam-Webster’s list of 2022’s hottest words and phrases, which also included terms such as “cancel culture,” “oligarch,” and “Queen Consort.”

While “gaslighting’s” first place spot wasn’t due to a single event that drove searches for the term, which saw a 1740% increase in 2022, officials with Merriam-Webster said its rise makes sense given the social climate.

“In this age of misinformation — of ‘fake news,’ conspiracy theories, Twitter trolls, and deepfakes— gaslighting has emerged as a word for our time,” Merriam-Webster said in announcing the word of the year Monday.

Peter Sokolowski, the dictionary’s editor at large, said the word was looked up every day in 2022.

This is appropriate, as Nicholas Clairmont wrote at the Washington Examiner:

Why does everything feel fake? … The answer to all this is in a book that came out six decades ago this month, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America by Daniel Boorstin. Since it is about “the menace of unreality,” the book is at least as important on its 60th anniversary as it was at the moment of its release. Its simple answer is this: Everything feels fake because, in part, it is. More specifically, everything feels fake because since the invention of the photograph and many technologies that followed from roughly the same time period, the reproduction and dissemination of words and images has become so technologically cheap and easy that ideas, too, have become cheap. Everything is now a copy, often a copy of a copy.

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