GIF is the Word ... Is the Word ... Is the Word

GIF, as a verb, is Oxford Dictionaries US Word of the Year for 2012. It's "omnishambles" for the UK. What should be Lexington's Word of the Year?


When it comes to words, the sincerest form of flattery may be when a noun transcends its part of speech and becomes a verb. And such was the case with this year’s Oxford Dictionaries US Word of the Year for 2012.

GIF, as a verb, claimed the title this year. The definition, from Oxford: GIF verb to create a GIF file of (an image or video sequence, especially relating to an event): he GIFed the highlights of the debate.

For the uninitiated, while GIFs exploded onto the mainstream this year, their origin dates back to the 1980s, when the GIF was born as an acronym short for graphics interchange format. GIFs are compressed image files, which can move as an animation but without sound.

From the Oxford Dictionaries blog:

The GIF, a compressed file format for images that can be used to create simple, looping animations, turned 25 this year, but like so many other relics of the 80s, it has never been trendier. 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.

To GIF is undeniably a computer term. So it should come as no surprise that Internet writers and Web-savvy reporters have deftly incorporated GIFfing into their repertoires.

Sports blog sites like SBNation and Deadspin frequently GIF game highlights—and, sometimes, lowlights—to post a couple-second clip almost immediately. And, as Oxford pointed out, GIFs were widely used during the Olympics this summer, and then Tumblr and the Guardian went and live-GIFed the presidential debates.

Some other candidates for Oxford’s US WOTY were Super PAC, superstorm, YOLO and nomophobia, the latter defined as “anxiety caused by being without one’s mobile phone.”

“Omnishambles” is the Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year for the U.K, and means “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations,” according to Pointer, which says comparing these words “could explain all major differences between American and British cultures.”

So, with that in mind, we want to know, What should be Lexington's Word of the Year for 2012?

Tanya Morrisett November 15, 2012 at 11:29 AM
I think that Lexington's word of the year for 2012, or maybe 2013!, should be "tercentennial." :)


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