GIFs: They’re so hot right now.
You know them. You love them. They power reddit and Tumblr. They’re the perfect way to express a wide range of emotions and reactions, or simply a quick and easy way to cut to the chase and display the most important parts of any online video. Today, the Oxford American Dictionaries have proclaimed GIF the word of the year.
So take your victory lap, GIFs. You’ve earned it.
“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.”
GIF beat out a half-dozen other 2012 buzz words for the title. Runners up include Super PAC, superstorm, YOLO, MOOC, and Higgs Boson.
The last internet-generated word to win Oxford’s word of the year was “unfriend” back in 2009. In 2005, the first year they awarded the prize, “podcast” took it home.
In celebration, here is how the internet feels when one of their primary forms of communication is validated: