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What does gaslight slang mean?

8 months ago

Gaslight slang refers to a form of manipulation and psychological abuse where one person makes another doubt their own perception of reality. It is derived from the term "gaslighting," which originates from the 1938 play Gas Light written by Patrick Hamilton, and later adapted into films.

In the context of relationships, gaslighting involves the abuser undermining the victim's confidence, memory, and sanity. This is often done through tactics such as:

  1. Denial: The abuser denies events or conversations that the victim clearly remembers.
  2. Withholding: The abuser withholds information or resources, making the victim question their own needs and worth.
  3. Countering: The abuser questions the victim's thoughts, feelings, or perceptions, making them doubt their own reality.
  4. Trivializing: The abuser dismisses the victim's concerns, making them feel insignificant or overly sensitive.

For example, imagine a couple where one partner frequently cheats but denies any wrongdoing. When the other partner confronts them with evidence, the cheating partner may gaslight by saying, "You're just imagining things. I've always been faithful to you."

Gaslighting can have severe consequences on the victim's mental health, leading to self-doubt, anxiety, and depression. It is crucial to recognize and address gaslighting behavior in relationships.


  1. Hamilton, Patrick. Gas Light. Samuel French, 1938.
  2. Stark, Christine. "Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People - and Break Free." Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 30 Jan. 2017,

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