Oxford University Press’s Word of the Year!

Dear Commons Community,

Oxford University Press yesterday released its annual Word of the Year.  Finalist in the competition included:

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: 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.

Superstorm: an unusually large and destructive storm

Nomophobia: anxiety caused by being without one’s mobile phone.

[from no and mo(bile) + phobia]

Higgs boson: a subatomic particle whose existence is predicted by the theory that unified the weak and electromagnetic interactions.

YOLO: you only live once; typically used as rationale or endorsement for impulsive or irresponsible behavior.

MOOC: massive open online course; a university course offered free of charge via the internet.

And the winner for 2012 is GIF.

“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,” noted Katherine Martin, Head of the US Dictionaries Program at Oxford University Press USA, in a press release marking the announcement.

“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.”

The word is chosen by a team of lexicographers and consultants to the dictionary team, along with editorial, marketing, and publicity staff at OUP, so read into that what you will.

Click on the GIF below.




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