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What is the past simple of the term gaslighting as a verb – "gaslighted" or "gaslit"?

Would it be correct to say:

That person gaslighted her

or:

That person gaslit her


Note: There is a related question on ELU.

3 Answers 3

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The usual simple past (preterite) and past participle of gaslight in that sense is gaslighted. See https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gaslight and https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/gaslight for examples.

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To gaslight:

Manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity.

In the examples offered by the ODO gaslighted is the more common version:

‘in the first episode, Karen Valentine is being gaslighted by her husband’

‘How do you know if you are being gaslighted?’

‘They will try to control the situation in such a way that the person who was gaslighted is kept away from other associates.’

‘Is this normal, or am I being gaslighted?’

Also, from Psychology Today:

Are you being gaslighted?

and from (www.patrickwanis.com)

20 Signs That You Are Being Gaslighted

and there are other numerous usage examples of gaslighted compared to gaslit

But both forms are correct:

Gaslight:

verb (used with object), gaslighted or gaslit, gaslighting.

to cause (a person) to doubt his or her sanity through the use of psychological manipulation: How do you know if your partner is gaslighting you? (Dictionary.com)

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I'm not an English major or anything, but I think it's safe to say the following about 'gaslighted' as opposed to 'gaslit':

  1. The word 'light' can be used as a noun as in "Can you hand me a cigarette and a light?" However, when it is used as a verb in the present tense-- as in "My recollection is that she used store-bought lamps to light the walkway"-- it is used therefore as a verb in the past tense, "My recollection is that she lighted the walkway with store-bought lamps." However, the tense of 'light' and 'lighted' changes when the same sentence is used this way: "My recollection is that she had lit the walkway with store-bought lamps." The "had" changes the verb tense.

  2. Since the word 'light' is contained in 'gaslight', it would be reasonable to assume that the word 'gaslight' would be used in the same way: "Avoid her. She will gaslight you." "Avoid her. She gaslighted me in the past." "Avoid her. She has gaslit everyone I know" or "Avoid her. She had gaslit everyone at work before the end of her first week there."

Of course, currently, a lot of spoken English is grammatically incorrect, some only so if you apply a very strict grammatical magnifying glass. An example is the wrong but popular "What had happened was" instead of the correct "This is what happened", "What happened is" or-- without applying a strict grammatical lens-- "This was what happened" (not to mention my first words in this comment of "I'm not an English major or anything" rather than the correct "I'm not an English major or any such thing"). Still, as long as most people use the same grammar, then grammatically incorrect English is still relevant and legitimate because it's understood. So, I believe that 'gaslight' can be used either as 'gaslighted' or as 'gaslit' when being used in any past tense.

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