The Oxford Dictionaries have chosen “GIF” as the Word of the Year for the United States.
They spotlighted the verb form of the word, the act of creating a GIF image for Internet usage (“a compressed file format for images that can be used to create simple, looping animations.”
Over at the OUP Blog, social media manager Alice Northover explained how they made the selection, complete with a series of GIFs.
Check it out: “You receive an email saying you’re on the Word of the Year committee and you feel so important. But you have to wait a couple weeks for the actual longlist from which you have to submit your top five choices and the reasons why. Serious thought is given on lexical interest, significance to this year, and the impact of the word. (Will usage increase? Does it capture the zeitgeist?) But you’re ruthless in your selections. A couple weeks after that we receive the shortlist, which contains words you’re not thrilled about. Finally, the Word of the Year meeting takes place.”