You heard it here second, giffers! Your favorite bite-sized media tool is finally getting the recognition it deserves. The always reliable Yahoo News tells us that tumblr’s pet niece, the GIF, has just beat out YOLO for WORD OF THE YEAR.
The Oxford American Dictionary, ugly stepbrother to the OED, named GIF as the 2012 Word of the Year. The Brits elected as their WotY “omnishambles”–which certainly surprised us, thinking our Yalie and NY banker term for getting wasted at the Omni was too provincial and underground to get noticed. Oh, England!
But the hearty American GIF, actually an acronym for some computer stuff and actually (apparently) pronounced, as in peanut butter, “jif,” beat out YOLO, omnishambles, and even also-ran “nomophobia”–the fear of having no mo’bile phone. No surprise here. To me, a good gif is like whipping out your paisley silk handkerchief–monogrammed if you’re doing it right–to blow your nose: it’s classy, personalized and nonverbal. When you don’t know what to say or how to say in words the ugly face you’re making, say it with a gif.
That’s why it’s simultaneously such an honor and a paradox for our favorite wordless phenom to be granted the lexicographical crown. Gif that, ya herd? (according to Yahoo News, gif is so special because it is *~*also a verb*~*).
Here are some of our favorite gifs from across the universe. Pair with a fine sherry and a space heater.