Merriam Webster names ‘gaslighting’ as Word of the Year
By the time it gets to the end of its 11th season on CBS, it’ll have named ‘gaslighting’ as Word of the Year. While I might not agree with all the ‘word of the year’ selections the network gave, I do think it’s an appropriate choice.
With the year drawing to a close, it’s time to take the first step to helping you make sense of things. Enter “gaslighting.”
Gaslighting is the process of using a form of manipulation, intimidation, or deception to cause someone to question your truthfulness or even your sanity.
This is how the term works as it’s used in the Merriam-Webster dictionary (as of Jan. 2015). It’s used to describe when a person uses psychological tactics to confuse the truth of the matter with lies. Merriam uses the term in that first definition to describe an act of deception.
A classic example of gaslighting, according to Merriam, is found in the movie Gaslight, a 1993 psychological drama about an American family in which the women of the family manipulate their husbands into making major decisions for them. It’s classic gaslighting because the women are lying to their husbands and not telling the truth about what they want, and their husbands are not able to see any of the truth and only know that things are bad.
For Merriam, the use of gaslighting to describe a situation where a person is deceiving or manipulating someone else, is “excessive control” or “excessive domination.”
I think we can all agree that excessive control or domination, is definitely an accurate description of the situation we’re in.
When I first saw the term gaslighting, I was reminded of a scene in the movie Gaslight in which Elizabeth Taylor plays Edwina Currie – one of the characters who manipulates her husband Kenneth (Drew Barrymore) into taking care of things and taking care of her. Elizabeth Taylor shows us Edwina Currie manipulating her husband Kenneth into the situation. She shows us how she is manipulating him by using psychological tricks and manipulative language to make him give her everything she wants, but not what she really, really needs, and always wanting