Much like Time’s Person of the Year honor, Oxford has a similar celebration, but for words. This year, it was “Gif” that made the Word of the Year honor.
Mhm… Oxford decided to give “Gif” the Word of the Year honor in 2012, the year when smartphones and iPads rule. But, GIF is back trending, although it was interesting two decades ago. Well, at least it’s more practical than the annoying YOLO.
“GIF celebrated a lexical milestone in 2012, gaining traction as a verb, not just a noun” reads a statement from Oxford. “The GIF has evolved from a medium for pop-cultural memes into a tool with serious application including research and journalism, and its lexical identity is transforming to keep pace” said Katherine Martin, head of U.S. dictionaries at Oxford.
So, yes GIF is a great change of pace compared to last year’s. At least this is a piece of technology that makes our lives brighter. Plus, it also turns 25 years since GIFing became a thing, which by the way, according to Oxford, it is pronounced with “a soft g (as in giant) or a hard g (as in graphic)”.
“The programmers who developed the format preferred a pronunciation with a soft g (in homage to the commercial tagline of the peanut butter brand Jiff, they supposedly quipped ‘choosy developers choose GIF’)” reads the Oxford press release on how to pronounce the word.
Oxford also labeled GIF as a trending thing. “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 Katherine Martin, probably thanking hipsters in her mind.
The Urban Dictionary has a cynical take on what YOLO means. It’s an abbreviation for You Only Live Once (if you somehow missed the Twitter hashtag, celebrity comments and of course anybody in a coffee shop) that Urban Dictionary describes as being “the dumbass’s excuse for something stupid that they did Also one of the most annoying abbreviations ever…”