Oxford Dictionaries announced that the word of the year is “GIF”. The acronym has been through a series of changes since it was first introduced 25 years ago having acquired the status of noun and verb, according to Huffington Post.
GIF, or better say, Graphics Interchange Format, was first introduced by CompuServe in 1987 as a means to indicate the extension used for animated pictures on the Internet. Since then, the meaning of the word has suffered significant changes being now one of the most interesting terms, according to Oxford Dictionaries.
The reputed English dictionary released a statement on Monday declaring “GIF” the word of the year. They were particularly attracted by the acronym’s capacity to signify not just a noun, but also a verb, a change that became noticeable at the beginning of 2012. Katherine Martin, head of the U.S. dictionaries program at Oxford told the press that the word is no longer used only for memes, but also for “serious applications including research and journalism”. The term was frequently used this year in humorous comments about various topics, including the U.S. presidential elections.
Academics’ mission was rather difficult as there are many words that deserved to be honored for their cultural evolution. However, they all agreed that “GIF” deserves the biggest award, whereas words like “YOLO” and “Superstorm” should occupy the subsequent positions. “YOLO”, the abbreviation for “you only live once” and the noun used to describe hurricane Sandy were some of the most used terms this year, according to their linguistic researches.
The British Oxford Dictionary chose a different word for 2012. The latter claim that “omnishambles”, a term designating a mismanaged situation, is more appropriate to become the word of the year. “Pleb”, a word deriving from the Roman term “plebs” has received a more modern signified and is now used to nominate “a member of the ordinary people or working classes”.
The recent statistics published by Oxford Dictionaries is only meant to inform people of the current linguistic changes. The word-of-the-year distinction does not guarantee that these terms will be included in the 2013 edition of the dictionaries.