CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Google has become a crutch for people even more than a dictionary when it comes to finding what words mean. In 2022, West Virginians were especially curious about the word “gaslighting,” according to Google search trends compiled by Freelance Writing Jobs.
Gaslighting was added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 2022 and was even designated as the Word of the Year.
According to Merriam-Webster, gaslighting is the “psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one’s emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator.”
A secondary definition says it is “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage.”
The definition said that the word was first used in the title of a play in 1938 where the plots of which involve a man attempting to make his wife believe that she is going insane.
West Virginia wasn’t the only state confused by the word; according to the study, it was the most Googled word in 35 states and saw a 1,740% increase in searches.
Read the table below to see the study’s full list of the states’ most searched words.
|District of Columbia||Gaslighting|