With Carmen Macri and Ambar Ramirez
The girls discuss last year’s word of the year and their predictions for this year’s
Carmen: It has come to our attention that Webster’s word of the year in 2022 was “gaslight.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I think that is pretty incredible. I mean that word hardly existed prior to 2022 (at least to us) and with how social media took it and ran with it, I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it does.
Ambar: And if you don’t know what gaslighting means, you’re probably prone to gaslighting. But jokes aside, according to Merriam-Webster, gaslighting is “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage.” Merriam’s words, not mine.
Carmen: I think my favorite saying is “I’m not gaslighting you; you’re just crazy” whenever someone gets called out for “grossly misleading someone.” Now that the word has become more mainstream, it’s pretty easy to sense when you are being gaslit, though that doesn’t mean we (I) don’t still fall victim to it.
Ambar: The word first appeared in the 1938 play and 1944 movie “Gas Light” in which a man is doing mysterious activity in the attic to cause the house’s gas lights to dim but attempts to make his wife believe she is going insane. But of course, the gas lights are dimming and he is, indeed, participating in some shady activities.
Carmen: I know plenty of men who have tried to convince me I was going insane. Like when my ex-boyfriend convinced me he was not cheating on me … then my gyno appointment said otherwise. Read between the lines there.
Ambar: Unfortunately, we’ve all been there. Hence the popularity of the word in 2022.
Carmen: Plenty of other fun words have gained popularity on social media since, so here is where we begin to predict the next word of the year. Ambar and I are highly qualified to be making these predictions: I swear it.
Ambar: Talk about gaslighting.
Carmen: Relax? Anyway, for my first-round draft pick, I am selecting the word “slay.” Now before you get upset with me for choosing this word, I must say, that slay has become so ingrained into the vocabulary of not only Gen-Z and Gen-Alpha, but I have seen quite a few millennials picking up on the word. Albeit, it’s cringe, but it conveys what it needs to convey.
Ambar: While the archaic definition of slay is to kill a person or animal in a violent way. The informal and popular use of the term is defined as to greatly impress or amuse.
Carmen: Slay is the new swag. I hate it, but it’s true. I wish I could not say “slay” in every sentence that leaves my mouth, but I simply cannot. It is the perfect word. Ambar brings me an orange to work? Slay. My boyfriend had a good day at work? Slay.
Ambar: Combined Minds? Slay.
Carmen: Though I do love “slay,” I must say that selecting the word of the year isn’t as straightforward as just picking a favorite word; it goes much deeper than that. The previous words of the year serve as a kind of summary of what that year meant to us. Here’s how I see it: In 2022, “gaslight” became the word of the year because it felt like the government was constantly trying to manipulate and deceive us. Prior to that in 2021, “vaccine” took the spotlight because the government was pushing for vaccine mandates, which had a huge impact on our lives. Of course, 2020 was all about the “pandemic” — no need to explain that one — it changed everything. And in 2019, “they” was the word of the year, reflecting a significant shift in how we think about gender and identity. You get the drift.
Ambar: Going along with how Merriam-Webster traditionally comes up with the word of the year, maybe this year’s word of the year will be “aliens.” Or, to take it one step further, “conspiracy” ’cause God knows I love my conspiracies and aliens (cue last month’s “Combined Minds” podcast).
Carmen: If we are being honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if “conspiracy” became the word of the year. It feels like every other week (or anytime Hunter Biden gets caught smoking crack with prostitutes) another conspiracy theory turns true. Maybe the word of the year will be “Hunter Biden.”
Ambar: Or maybe the word of the year will be “activist,” considering all of the (necessary) protests and political movements going on.
Carmen: If we are staying along the lines of government-esque words of the year, “plea deal” is my second-round draft pick. I mean how many people in politics have been “arrested” and granted a plea deal this year? Hunter Biden, for one.
Ambar: You are obsessed with Hunter Biden.
Carmen: He is so entertaining. I can’t help it.
Ambar: Anyway … guess we’ll just have to wait and see what word Merriam-Webster comes up with at the end of the year.