Oxford Dictionary's Word of 2012: GIF

File format beats 'YOLO,' 'superstorm'

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 13, 2012 2:45 AM CST | Updated Nov 13, 2012 4:51 AM CST

(Newser) – The GIF file type for simple animations has been around since the '80s but only now has the Oxford Dictionary decided to make it its American word of the year. GIF—which stands for "graphic interchange format"—"celebrated a lexical milestone in 2012, gaining traction as a verb, not just a noun," Oxford said in a press release, noting the role of GIFs this year in everything from the Olympics to the spread of "Gangnam Style" to the presidential debates.

GIF beat several other entries to become word of the year, including "YOLO," an acronym for "you only live once," reports NPR. Other contenders included Higgs boson, "Eurogeddon" for the possible European Union financial meltdown, super PAC, superstorm, and "nomophobia"—the fear of being without one's mobile phone. Winners from previous years include "refudiate," coined by Sarah Palin in 2010.

Nomophobia - coming soon to a dictionary year you.
"Nomophobia" - coming soon to a dictionary year you.   (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)
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Like so many other relics of the 80s, it has never been trendier. - The Oxford Dictionary
explains its choice of "GIF."

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