GIF beats out Yolo, is 2012's 'Word of the Year'
MANILA, Philippines - From a "relic" of the 1980s, to 2012's hippest word - "GIF" has come a long way this year.
The word "GIF," used as a verb which means to create a Graphics Interface Format (GIF) file, particularly animated ones, has been named Oxford Dictionaries US Word of the Year for 2012 on Monday, November 12.
"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," said the Oxford University Press (OUP) in its announcement.
"GIF celebrated a lexical milestone in 2012, gaining traction as a verb, not just a noun," the publisher said.
OUP highlighted the milestones that helped make GIF the year's top word, from the New York Public Library's "stereogranimator" to the viral spread of Olympic and US election related images.
The word beat out some tough competition that also became "hip" this year. The shortlist included:
- Eurogeddon: "the potential financial collapse of the European Union countries that have adopted the euro, envisaged as having catastrophic implications for the region’s economic stability"
- Higgs boson, the so-called "God particle" discovered this year
- MOOC, or massively open online course, as popularized by the free courses offered by universities online
- Nomophobia, or the "anxiety caused by being without one’s mobile phone [from no + mo(bile) + phobia]"
- Super PAC (Political Action Committee), which became widespread during the 2012 US election
- Superstorm (as in Superstorm Sandy)
- YOLO (you only live once), defined by OUP as a word "typically used as rationale or endorsement for impulsive or irresponsible behavior"
"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," the publisher said.
The Word of the Year is chosen annually by the OUP, one of the leading academic publishers.
Despite this accolade, the publisher said it is not a guarantee that the definition for the GIF will become part of their popular dictionaries.
"While the Word of the Year has great resonance for 2012, that doesn’t mean that it will automatically go into any of our English Dictionaries," they said. - Rappler.com