Oxford Dictionary names words of the year for both U.S. and U.K.

By Gina DiFalco,

The Oxford Dictionary has announced their picks for their word of the year, one for the U.S. and one for the U.K.

But the words aren’t as common as you’d think, with the U.S.’ word being “GIF” and the U.K’s "omnishambles,” created by the writers from the TV show The Thick of It.

According to KMBZ, GIF stands for graphics interchange format, and it’s a common format for images on the internet, mainly images with looping animations.

"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,” said Oxford Dictionary.

Meanwhile, omnishambles is described as a "situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, and is characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations."

According to The Huffington Post, the word came about on the BBC’s show The Thick of It and mainly referred to political situations that had gone south. It was even related to Americans when then-presidential hopeful Mitt Romney made a visit to the U.K. and called “Romneyshambles.”

Oxford Dictonary explained “The Word of the Year need not have been coined within the past twelve months and it does not have to be a word that will stick around for a good length of time: it is very difficult to predict accurately which new words will have staying power.”

They added, "And while the Word of the Year has great resonance for 2012, it doesn't mean that the word will automatically go into any Oxford dictionaries. Evidence that a word or expression will stay the course is required before it is included in an Oxford dictionary."



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