English is an amazing language. It has more words than any other language – estimated at over 1,000,000. One of the reasons why English has so many words is because we continue adding new ones to our vocabulary. This idea is clearly reflected in Oxford American Dictionaries choice for the 2012 Word of the Year which is GIF.
According to Katherine Martin, Head of the US Dictionaries Program at Oxford University Press USA: “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. 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.”
Here are the other shortlisted words according to Oxford University Press:
1. Eurogeddon: the potential financial collapse of the Eurozone, envisaged as having catastrophic implications for the region’s economic stability [from euro + (arma)geddon]
2. Super PAC: a type of independent political action committee which may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, and individuals but is not permitted to contribute to or coordinate directly with parties or candidates
3. Superstorm: an unusually large and destructive storm
4. Nomophobia: anxiety caused by being without one’s mobile phone
[from no and mo(bile) + phobia]
5. Higgs boson: a subatomic particle whose existence is predicted by the theory that unified the weak and electromagnetic interactions
6. YOLO: you only live once; typically used as rationale or endorsement for impulsive or irresponsible behavior
7. MOOC: massive open online course; a university course offered free of charge via the internet
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