The Oxford American Dictionaries announced Monday that its 2012 word of the year is "GIF," an image format which just celebrated its 25th anniversary, but has entered a new vogue as a verb following its adoption by social networks.
GIF stands for "graphics interchange format," and is one of the oldest image types used online. In fact, the first image ever uploaded to what we now know as the Internet (once just a small network of computers in a Swiss lab) was a GIF.
The GIF format gradually gave way to JPEG, which is better for photographs, but the ability to animate GIFs let them survive with a cult following. But in the last year, because of the ease with which they can now be created and shared, GIFs have exploded in popularity.
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