GIF and omnishambles are having their moments in the linguistic sun, as Oxford Dictionaries voted them words of the year for the US and UK, respectively.
“GIF celebrated a lexical milestone in 2012, gaining traction as a verb, not just a noun,” Katherine Martin, head of the US dictionaries program at Oxford, said in a statement. “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, aka a compressed file format for animations that spread like wildfire across the Internet, used by Tumbloggers and journalists alike, beat out words like Eurogeddon (the potential financial collapse of the Eurozone, envisaged as having catastrophic implications for the region’s economic stability [from euro + (arma)geddon]), super PAC, superstorm, Higgs boson, and YOLO (You Only Live Once), Beta Beat reported.
Omnishambles took the Brits’ hearts, defined as “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, and is characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations,” Oxford dictionaries UK reported.
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It was coined by the writers of the satirical TV show “The Thick Of It,” and was popularly spun off into “Romneyshambles,” a word used widely by the British to “describe US presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s doubts that London had what it took to host a successful Olympic Games,” according to Oxford.
“It was a word everyone liked, which seemed to sum up so many of the events over the last 366 days in a beautiful way,” said Fiona McPherson, the senior content editor for Oxford Dictionaries. “It’s funny, it’s quirky, and it has broken free of its fictional political beginnings, firstly by spilling over into real politics, and then into other contexts.”