‘GIF’ is the Oxford Dictionaries USA Word of the Year


The Oxford Dictionaries USA has chosen the verb GIF as its word of the year.

GIF, verb: to create a GIF file of (an image or video sequence, especially relating to an event)

They write:

“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,” notes Katherine Martin, Head of the US Dictionaries Program at Oxford University Press USA.  “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.”

Indeed, GIFING has had an amazing year in 2012.  In January the New York Public Library launched stereogranimator allowing visitors to create GIFs of 40,000+ digitized stereographs from its collection and share them.  Then in March Tumblr hit 20 billion blog posts.  July saw the 20th anniversary of the first GIF posted on the World Wide Web, a photograph of the band “Les Horribles Cernettes”.  In August GIFing was perfect medium for sharing scenes from the Summer Olympics in London, especially this coverage of the vault from The Atlantic.  Most recently many media outlets were live-GIFing the 2012 presidential  debates.

GIF beat out the words Eurogeddon, Super PAC, Superstorm, Nomophobia, Higgs Boson, YOLO, and MOOC.