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Oxford American Dictionary Names ‘GIF’ as Word of the Year

Oxford American Dictionary Names 'GIF' as Word of the Year
Oxford University Press

In a sure sign of our technology-driven times, the Oxford American Dictionary has named “GIF” as its 2012 word of the year, beating out a range of other modern terms. Personally, we would have voted for “YOLO,” but maybe that’s just us.

At 25-years-old, GIF, which stands for “Graphics Interchange Format,” is one of the oldest image types currently used on the internet. What’s more, the very first image uploaded to the internet was, you guessed it, a GIF.

“Like so many other relics of the 80s, it has never been trendier,” wrote lexicographer Katherine Martin, who helped judge the word. “GIF celebrated a lexical milestone in 2012, gaining traction as a verb, not just a noun. The GIF has evolved from a medium for pop-cultural memes into a tool with serious applications including research and journalism, and its lexical identity is transforming to keep pace.”

Oxford American Dictionary says the word reflects “the ethos of the year,” and it triumphed over other terms such as “YOLO,” an acronym for “You Only Live Once,” “superstorm,” which came into vogue after Hurricane Sandy decimated the East coast, “Higgs boson,” a previously theoretical subatomic particle and “nomophobia,” which is the fear of being without a cell phone.

Too bad, “YOLO.” There’s always next year. Now please enjoy Obama doing the ‘Single Ladies’ dance.

obama single ladies

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