Slang dictionary

goblin mode

[ gob-lin mohd ]

What is goblin mode?

Goblin mode is a slang term for a way of behaving that intentionally and shamelessly gives in to and indulges in base habits and activities without regard for adhering to social norms or expectations.

The behaviors thought to constitute goblin mode vary from person to person, but it’s commonly associated with things like consuming “junky” food and media and disregarding one’s appearance and sometimes hygiene. Goblin mode is most often used to refer to a temporary state, such as one entered on weekends or after work, but this is not always the case.

Example: This weekend I went into goblin mode and ate a bucket of ice cream in my underwear while watching reality shows.

The phrase is typically used to be at least somewhat humorous and is commonly applied to oneself as a way of embracing such behavior. Since the term refers to a mode of behavior, it’s often used in phrases like enter goblin mode and go full goblin mode.

Goblin mode is often considered the opposite of and a reaction to the kinds of healthy, organized, productive habits and lifestyles that are commonly presented (and glorified) in highly curated social media content.

Goblin mode is also sometimes used in reference to people and animals who suddenly become “wild.”

Related words

food coma, boreout, the Before Times, hard pants, toxic positivity

Where does goblin mode come from?

woman overwhelmed at desk

Goblin mode likens indulgent, base behavior—basically doing whatever one wants—to that of a goblin, a type of fictional creature known for being ugly and mischievous or evil. The word mode refers to a manner of acting or behaving.

Early uses of the phrase goblin mode to refer to a certain type of behavior appeared on social media in 2009 and 2010.

Use of the term significantly increased in early 2022. In February, the phrase gained mainstream attention after being used in a fake headline referencing actress Julia Fox that went viral.

The phrase is often used as part of memes or posts depicting unflattering and indulgent behavior.

Examples of goblin mode

My goblin mode is eating a home taco kit in bed
@bradcollins128, March 13, 2022
Although many people tweeting about goblin mode have characterized it as an almost spiritual-level embrace of our most debased tendencies, Marnell says there is “healthy goblin mode and destructive goblin mode”.
Kari Paul, The Guardian, March 2022

Who uses goblin mode?

Goblin mode is perhaps most commonly used by people who apply it to themselves and their base and indulgent behavior. It’s usually meant to be at least somewhat humorous.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of goblin mode like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of goblin mode that will help our users expand their word mastery.