I don't remember anyone using the word, though I think I've seen it in print. The OED traces it to 1961, which seems strange since the word came from the 1938 play, Gas Light and the subsequent British (1940) and American movies (1944). An 18-year-old Angela Lansbury made here screen debut in the 1944 Alfred Hitchcock movie.
OED Brit. /ˈɡaslʌɪt/ U.S./ˈɡæsˌlaɪt/
Origin: Formed within English, by conversion. Etymon: English Gaslight. Etymology: < the title of George Cukor's 1944 film Gaslight... (Show More)
transitive. To manipulate (a person) by psychological means into questioning his or her own sanity. J. E. Lighter Hist. Dict. Amer. Slang (1994) I. 868/1 records an oral use from 1956.
1961 A. S. C. Wallace Culture & Personality 183 It is also popularly believed to be possible to ‘gaslight’3 a perfectly healthy person into psychosis by interpreting his own behavior to him as symptomatic of serious mental illness.
Gaslight is a 1944 American psychological thriller film, adapted from Patrick Hamilton's play Gas Light (1938), about a woman whose husband slowly manipulates her into believing that she is going insane. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay, winning two for Best Actress and Best Production Design.
The 1944 version was a remake following the 1940 British film Gaslight, directed by Thorold Dickinson. This 1944 version was directed by George Cukor and starred Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotten, and 18-year-old Angela Lansbury in an Oscar-nominated screen debut (Supporting Actress). It had a larger scale and budget than the earlier film, and it lends a different feel to the material. To avoid confusion with the first film, this version was originally titled The Murder in Thornton Square in the UK. This film features numerous deviations from the original stage play, though the central drama remains that of a husband trying to drive his wife insane in order to distract her from his criminal activities.
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