Oxford English Dictionary picks GIF and Omnishambles as words of the year

By Daniel S Levine,

The Oxford English Dictionary picked two words of the year on Monday. The UK word of the year was ‘omnishambles,’ while the US word of the year was determined to be GIF.

In a statement, the organization explained the importance of omnishambles, a word created by The Thick of It, a satirical show in the UK. It describes a situation that has been completely mismanaged thanks to an entire string of mistakes and blunders.

The BBC notes that the word has inspired several variations, including “Romneyshambles,” which appeared during Mitt Romney’s infamous, gaffe-filled trip to the UK during the presidential campaign.

For the US, Oxford picked GIF, a verb that describes creating a simple, looping animation. The GIF celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2012 and it is still as popular as ever, with entire blogs devoted to topical GIFs.

Oxford even collected GIFs to describe the process it goes through to pick the words of the year.

Other UK nominees included “mommy porn,” which refers to 50 Shades of Grey, and Eurogeddon, which described the financial collapse of the euro many were afraid of. “Super PAC,” “YOLO” and “Superstorm” also made the shortlist.

Oxford notes that while some of these words have gained widespread use and were named words of the year, that doesn’t guarantee a spot in the dictionary.



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