[The Fountain] The words of the year reflecting the times

Home > National >

print dictionary print

[The Fountain] The words of the year reflecting the times

The author is an international news team reporter at the JoongAng Ilbo.

At the end of each year, dictionary publishers and academies announce “the Word of the Year.” It is selected considering the frequency it was used on the internet, by public voting, and by its influence on politics, economy and society.

This year, a word darker than ever has been selected due to serious events such as the pandemic, the Ukraine war, inflation and economic recession, heightened nuclear threats, and North Korea’s missile provocations. The British Collins English Dictionary selected “permacrisis” as its word of the year, which means long-term instability and anxiety. The dictionary explained, “It sums up just how truly awful 2022 has been for so many people.”

A term pointing out the brazenness and selfishness of social elites also was selected. The U.S. Merriam Webster Dictionary chose “gaslighting,” or “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one’s own advantage.” Examples of gaslighting would be doctors talking down of the conditions of women and minorities.

The phrase of the year selected by the Korean Professors News is “gwa-i-bul-gae,” which means “not correcting a fault is also a fault.” Prof. Park Hyun-mo of Yeoju University said, “It shows the standardized words and actions of the leaders in Korea.”

The Oxford English Dictionary chose a word describing the routine of people exhausted from anxiety and fatigue. “Goblin mode” is a slang term describing the behavior of “unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.” Instead of striving for achievements, goblin mode refers to the lethargic state of mind, which says it is more comfortable to give up.

The words of 2022 can be summed up as something like this: “We are tired of the shamelessness of selfish leaders amid the endless crisis.” Unfortunately, as the crisis will continue into next year, an economic slump is inevitable, according to The Economist’s The World Ahead 2023.

Where do you get the strength to confront the long crisis? Park Jung-ha, the miner who was trapped in an underground mine in October and rescued after 221 hours said, “I gathered the strength to endure when I believed I would not die here and the rescue team would come, and the miracle happened,” stressing the mindset of holding on to hope till the end. As the year ends and New Year approaches, I wish everyone endures with hope to see a miracle happening.
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)