Gaslighting is the most confusing word in the United States and is the top search in 35 states
Narcissist is the second most confusing word and is the top search in six states
Pushing P, POV, woke, SMH and NFT were also top searches
The popularity of words constantly changes with the times and often reflects what is happening in the world around us. But which new words have cemented themselves as part of our everyday conversation? And do we know what they really mean?
The team at freelance writing job board Freelancewritingjobs.com used Google search data to find out which word definition each state Googles most to reveal the most confusing word in every state.
|District of Columbia||Gaslighting|
Gaslighting is the most confusing word in the United States, with 35 states Googling its meaning most. According to the dictionary, gaslighting means to “manipulate (someone) using psychological methods into questioning their sanity or powers of reasoning.” It’s a serious issue and can affect a person’s mental health. It is commonly associated with abusers in romantic relationships or friendships but can also refer to professionals, corporations or governments’ manipulation of the public. States where gaslighting is the most confusing word include California, New York, Texas and Illinois. There are over 600,000 searches for the definition of Gaslighting each month in the U.S.
Merriam-Webster named gaslighting its word of the year, following a 1,740 per cent increase in searches on its website in a year.
Narcissist is the second most confusing word in the US, with six states Googling the meaning of this word more than any other. The meaning of narcissist is someone who is too self-obsessed and egotistic. Narcissism is tied to narcissistic personality disorder, a mental health condition which involves self-centeredness, arrogant thinking, and a lack of empathy or care for others. The states that googled this definition most are Alabama, Arkansas, Michigan and Kentucky.
According to Google Ngram data, the frequency of the word ‘narcissist’ increased rapidly in books from 1992, when IBM announced the first smartphone.
The slang term Pushing P is the most confusing word in three states, Mississippi, Georgia and Louisiana. The phrase is open to interpretation but generally means being a stand-up guy of good character. Pushing P can mean ‘keeping it real’, or it can simply mean good, whereas if something is “Not P”, it is bad. The term was popularized by rapper Gunna and became an internet meme, especially on TikTok.
POV is also the most confusing in three states: Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming. It is an abbreviation of ‘point of view’. The phrase is most commonly used in TV and film and on TikTok, where the viewer is in place of the camera, and the actor speaks directly to the camera. It usually depicts the attitude or viewpoint of the director on a particular subject, often for comedic effect. POV can also be used in political debate and sports commentating as another way of saying ‘in my opinion’.
NFT is the most confusing word in Colorado and Washington. NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token; it’s a type of digital asset that represents ownership of a unique item, like a piece of artwork, stored on a digital record known as a blockchain. NFT is a new term coined shortly after cryptocurrencies were created.
Who hasn’t heard the term “woke” by now? Woke is the most confusing word in New Hampshire and generally means someone who is aware of social and political issues, particularly related to social injustice and inequality. Woke is a popular term on social media and in politics and can have positive and negative connotations, depending on the context it is used.
SMH was the most confusing word in Alaska. It is a commonly used internet slang word and is an abbreviation of “shaking my head”. It is used to express disapproval or disappointment, typically reacting to the actions or opinions of other people.
A spokesperson for Freelancewritingjobs.com said: “There are many reasons why we use slang. Often, it enriches our language and helps us feel closer to people. While these terms may have different meanings and connotations, they all speak to different aspects of modern life and the issues we are currently facing.
The most confusing words in the U.S. suggest that people are looking to better navigate complex issues such as controlling and self-obsessed behavior, varied political perspectives and new digital technologies.
No matter what the subject, it is important that we continue to have open and honest conversations about these topics to understand each other better.”
The study was conducted by freelance writing job board Freelancewritingjobs.com.