Login

'GIF' is the Oxford University Press word of the year in the US

corgi

The humble GIF has had a big year: it turned 25 in June, and was the preferred file format during the recent presidential debates. Now, a new honor has been bestowed upon it — Oxford University Press has dubbed GIF the word of the year in the US, beating out YOLO, second-screening, and a number of words that made the short list. Over the in UK, however, the word of the year was "omnishambles," a term coined by writers of the British comedy show The Thick of It — it's defined as "a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations."

In a statement to BetaBeat, Oxford's head of the US dictionaries program Katherine Martin said that "GIF celebrated a lexical milestone in 2012, gaining traction as a verb, not just a noun," and also noted that the GIF is now "a tool with serious applications including research and journalism, and its lexical identity is transforming to keep pace." It's high praise for a file format, but we'd be hard-pressed to disagree. That said, this doesn't guarantee the GIF a lasting place in English language history — a word of the year is not necessarily a shoe-in to be promoted to the pages of the OED.

The Verge
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.
Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.