Inside the Beltway: ‘Gaslighting’ Named Word of the Year by Merriam Webster

It is an annual phenomenon.

Merriam Webster Dictionary has declared “gaslighting” the official “Word of the Year” for 2022, based on the number of times a particular word is looked up by the general public.

Gaslight won.

The term has been talked about quite a bit in the news media and in political circles this year, for better or for worse.

“In this age of disinformation — of ‘fake news’, conspiracy theories, Twitter trolls and deepfakes — gaslighting has emerged as a word for our times. Gaslighting, a driver of disorientation and mistrust, is “grossly deceiving someone, especially for one’s own benefit.” In 2022, there was a 1,740% increase in gaslighting searches, with great interest throughout the year,” the dictionary reads in its rationale.

The word originally referred to a type of psychological manipulation that leads to confusion and alarm, best known for its rendering by Ingrid Bergmann in the 1944 movie ‘Gaslight’. But it has gone much further than that.

“In recent years we have seen that the meaning of gaslighting also refers to something simpler and broader: ‘the act or practice of grossly deceiving someone, especially for a personal benefit.’ In this usage, the word home fits with other terms pertaining to modern forms of deception and manipulation, such as fake news, deepfake, and artificial intelligence,” the rationale reads.

“The idea of ​​a deliberate conspiracy to deceive has made gaslighting useful in describing lies that are part of a larger scheme. Unlike lying, which is usually between individuals, and fraud, which usually involves organizations, gaslighting applies in both personal and political contexts. It is equally at home in formal and technical writing as well as colloquial speech,” the dictionary advised.

“Gaslighting has become the word of choice for the perception of cheating. Therefore (trust us!) it has earned its place as our Word of the Year,” it concluded.


So Mike Lindel — the lovable founder of MyPillow — would like to become chairman of the Republican National Committee.

That should be a very interesting venture. However, the press now bursts into tears and pursues Mr. Lindell with much commentary. Just a few headlines:

“Mike Lindell’s would-be candidate for RNC chairman scoffed: ‘I don’t trust this idiot to make a cup of coffee'” (The Wrap); “Mike Lindell says ‘God willing’, he will challenge Ronna McDaniel for RNC seat” (The Hill); and “Pillow Fight: Mike Lindell Announces RNC Chair Challenge” (Washington Examiner).


Talk radio is often a very useful indicator of public interest. And politics seems to top the list of hot topics on hundreds of radio stations across the country.

“Measuring how Republicans feel about the former president Donald Trump‘s bid for the White House in 2024 and the controversy over Trump’s dinner with Thou and white nationalists Nick Fuentes; the battle for power leading up to the next Congress and the runoff between Georgia’s U.S. Senate candidates Rafael Warnock and Herschel Walkerare leading conversations across the country, according to Talkers Magazine, an industry source that closely follows the current topic on a daily basis.

What comes next in the popularity derby?

“Inflation, supply chain issues and recession fears; the large-scale protests in China over the highly restrictive COVID lockdowns; Russia’s continued shelling of Ukraine; the Thanksgiving holiday and the start of the holiday shopping season; and the World Cup tournament were also some of the hottest stories on news/talk radio,” advised Talkers.


The Center for Gun Violence Solutions, in collaboration with the Bloomberg American Health Initiative of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is planning a virtual symposium on “the complex and deadly intersection of white supremacy, political violence, guns, and the Second Amendment. ”

The event is scheduled for February 9.

“Research experts, affected communities and policymakers involved in this work will come together to discuss tangible solutions to reduce the cycle of racism and hatred,” the host organization said in a statement shared with the Beltway.

“The Center for Gun Violence Solutions combines the expertise of the nation’s most respected gun violence researchers with the skills of the nation’s most experienced gun violence prevention advocates. We develop and apply scientific research to identify a range of innovative solutions to gun violence and to advocate for systemic change. This combination provides a unique opportunity to transform public health research into policy action that reduces all forms of gun violence and saves lives.


Some continue to question whether former president Donald Trump will host more of its signature, jumbo-sized rallies before the year is out. It’s still a mystery. His official calendar contains no dates or information.

Presidential hopeful and former Vice President Mike Pencewill travel to New Hampshire on December 12 to promote his new book “So Help Me God” in Manchester and New Castle.

Will he reveal his plans? Stay tuned.


• 26% of full-time and part-time workers in the US say they are “very” or “moderately” concerned about exposure to COVID-19 at work.

• 38% of Democrats, 26% of Independents and 9% of Republicans agree.

• 33% of women and 21% of men also agree.

• 27% of those who work on location, 31% of those who have a “hybrid” work schedule and 21% of those who work exclusively remotely also agree.

• 29% of 18-34 year-olds, 26% of 35-54 year-olds and 22% of over-55s also agree.

SOURCE: A Gallup survey of 1,174 U.S. adults employed full-time or part-time by an employer conducted Oct. 11-19 and published Nov. 22.

• Contact Jennifer Harper at

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