It's been delighting people around the world for 25 years but now formally holds a honored place in the cultural lexicon: "GIF" has been chosen as word of the year by the Oxford American Dictionary.
"GIF celebrated a lexical milestone in 2012, gaining traction as a verb, not just a noun," said Katherine Martin, head of the US dictionaries program at Oxford.
"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 is, in fact, an abbreviation of three separate words: Graphics Interchange Format. It was first released by CompuServe in 1987 but has experienced a dramatic cultural resurgence in recent years, most commonly used to make humorous commentary on t