Memes propel GIF toward verb status

The steady decline of the English language continues. The latest blow comes from the Oxford Dictionary, which has named GIF its “USA Word of the Year.” Yep, that GIF—except not exactly. GIF is already in the Oxford Dictionary as a noun. This time, it’s being recognized as a verb. Apparently, creating a GIF of a scene or an event is referred to as GIFing. To GIF?  Seriously?

Despite my disdain for using GIF as a verb, I’ve gotta give it to the Graphics Interchange Format for staying relevant since its introduction in 1987. For better or worse, the popularity of the format has surged in recent years as a means to spread Internet memes. Animated GIFs seem to be everywhere now.

Mercifully, GIFing may not make its way into the actual Oxford Dictionary. The Word of the Year is defined as “a word that has attracted interest and that embodies in some way the ethos of the year.” Other candidates for 2012 included Super PAC, superstorm, and Eurogeddon. Maybe GIFing isn’t so bad after all.

The most controversial aspect of this story may be Oxford’s decree that both pronunciations of GIF are acceptable. I’ve always used a soft g, which matches my own name and is what the format’s creators preferred; the CompuServe employees responsible for the format supposedly said “Choosy developers choose GIF,” a reference to Jif-brand peanut butter. The hard-g pronunciation seems to be more popular these days, but that doesn’t make it right.

Comments closed
    • omf
    • 7 years ago

    P.S. Hard ‘G’ makes more sense, since it’s the *G*raphics Interchange Format, not the *J*elly Interchange Format.

    • omf
    • 7 years ago

    I really think GIF deserves a “come-back format of the decade” award. There was a point in the mid 90’s when it looked like it was going to disappear thanks to Unisys trying to strong-arm everyone on the Web into paying licensing fees – which is why the PNG format was born.

    Now it’s back and stronger than ever thanks to its previously-little-used animation feature! Who would’ve thought?! (Especially since PNG provides similar animation functionality, but, apparently, it isn’t well-supported).

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 7 years ago

    DO YOU EVEN LIFT BRO???

    • shaq_mobile
    • 7 years ago

    Hard G, soft G…

    That reminds me, is “gib” pronounced “jib”?

    Gib sounds way more gibby, jib sounds too peanutbuttery to be gory errr jory. Uh oh.

    Oh man, I just read that last paragraph and it makes me sad.

      • Corrado
      • 7 years ago

      Its jib. Like, giblets, aka small pieces of meat from a turkey.

    • shaurz
    • 7 years ago

    It’s a shame APNG never caught on, so we are stuck with 256 colours. Maybe if they rebranded it GIF 2.0 it might be more successful?

    • internetsandman
    • 7 years ago

    Day9 (youtube personality) once mentioned something theyve done eventually getting GIFed (soft G) by Reddit. At the time I thought it was just a dude messing around with the English language for fun and simplicity; his viewers knew what he was trying to communicate so it didn’t matter, whereas the term being officially recognized by Oxford English Dictionary….that’s mildly unnerving

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    And a dictionary trying to be more hip. I’ve never heard of GIFing or of the word used like that.

      • Diplomacy42
      • 7 years ago

      That settles it. If Bensam123 hasn’t heard it used that way…

      • travbrad
      • 7 years ago

      I’ve never heard it used that way either, and I was making/visiting websites back when the web had tons of animated GIFs

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        I suppose they’ll add ‘flashing’ next year…

    • Derfer
    • 7 years ago

    Does this mean we can finally get gif support back in windows? I hate how MS shits on things they want to compete with even long after it becomes apparent they’ve failed.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 7 years ago

    In the early 90’s, we had a saying:

    “Surveys show choosy perverts choose .GIF!!!”

    Yes, I know, I’m incredibly dated. Me and my old humor will be here all week.

    • mkk
    • 7 years ago

    Meme’s are often based on baby-talk, which however prevalent doesn’t necessarily pass for introduction into dictionaries. But still, PNG’ing is just too darn hard to say. ;P

      • Game_boy
      • 7 years ago

      Memes are not restricted to lolcats.

        • mkk
        • 7 years ago

        Lolcats are a relatively mature expression of memes seen over the last few years. 😀

    • Scrotos
    • 7 years ago

    Man, this is like the whole gib/jib pronounciation thing all over!

    • geekl33tgamer
    • 7 years ago

    I wanted them to replace every word with a hash tag instead… #standard.

    Wait, what…?

    • Sargent Duck
    • 7 years ago

    I’ve heard that English is the most difficult language to learn. I’d believe it, I can’t even keep up with all the changes. To Gif? First I’ve ever heard of this.

    Oh well, if you can’t hold on to proper English…join ’em?

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    I nominated PURPORTEDLY.

    • sschaem
    • 7 years ago

    “USA Word of the Year.”… “To GIF” interesting.

    Soon we are going to see “To QCR” “To KIPP”, etc… in short, heaven for struggling scrabble players.

    “Here TRKOP 56 points, tripple letter”
    “Thats not a word! ”
    “Sorry, but wrong, its like the word of the year in the UK, check your Oxford Dictionary”
    “What?”
    “yea dude, To TRKOP, duuuuh!”

    • Noigel
    • 7 years ago

    Apparently I don’t know hard Gs from soft ones. In the fourth paragraph I was all like…

    Gee-off?!

    • Zarf
    • 7 years ago

    I always used the hard G, up until I read that the developers used the soft G. Giff just seems easier to say than Jiff for some reason.

      • shaurz
      • 7 years ago

      I refuse to stop pronouncing it with a hard G, like the word “git”, “give”, etc.

      • superjawes
      • 7 years ago

      I understand the “Jiff” pronunciation, but “Jiff” is for peanut butter.

    • Ringofett
    • 7 years ago

    That’s it. Done with this language. Going back to Latin.

    Ad infernum cum omnibus.

      • indeego
      • 7 years ago

      Sicko!

      • brute
      • 7 years ago

      why fo homie, ya feel me? english be tight, you feel me?

      homie need to get real. meme propel GIF to verb status, gnomesayin? you be needin to propel yoself, son. Propel yoself to speakin RITE, gnomesayin?

      werdddddddd

        • Arclight
        • 7 years ago

        Population: all them b*tches. Can i get a what, what? Holler.

        • Ari Atari
        • 7 years ago

        Et tu Brute?

      • ULYXX
      • 7 years ago

      Nah mon. Letz go to tha beech an luk at the pretty gul’s.

      • drfish
      • 7 years ago

      Cave piscus!

        • Meadows
        • 7 years ago

        Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisci elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

        Did I win yet?

          • Mourmain
          • 7 years ago

          That’s not even latin, it’s just pretend latin…

            • Meadows
            • 7 years ago

            It’s actual Latin. Of course the sentences don’t tend to make sense, but that doesn’t make it not-Latin.

            • Myrmecophagavir
            • 7 years ago

            No it’s not. “Nostrud”?
            [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorem_ipsum[/url<]

            • Meadows
            • 7 years ago

            Yes it is. “Nostrud” means “we”.*** (And from the original text, “nostrum” means “our”.)***

            ***According to Google Translate Latin-to-English.

            • Myrmecophagavir
            • 7 years ago

            Ah, of course, I should have just hit Google instead of remembering the seven years of Latin I studied at school!

            “Nostrud” is a word made from jamming those bits together you can see highlighted in the excerpt there. It doesn’t mean “we” at all – it’s not even Latin. Google’s doing its best job from the stem, but there’s a reason it’s not even described as beta…

            Oh, and “nostrum” in the original doesn’t even mean “our” in this context. You (or Google) are presumably thinking of the accusative masculine singular, or nominative, vocative or accusative neuter singular, of “noster”, the adjective meaning “our”. But here Cicero is using the genitive plural of “ego”, meaning “of us” or better translated here “among us”…

            • brute
            • 7 years ago

            you are talking like a word nerd

            cool your jets

            • Myrmecophagavir
            • 7 years ago

            Guilty as charged. Touché!

            Edit: You know what? I really should have said “Et tu, Brute?” Can’t believe I didn’t spot that golden opportunity at the time.

            • Diplomacy42
            • 7 years ago

            Thought I was crazy. Good on ya.

          • no51
          • 7 years ago

          Is that the mantra/chant to keep girls away and stay a virgin forever?

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            so far it’s working for her!

            • Meadows
            • 7 years ago

            Nonsense, sweatshopking!

            I’m a [i<]he[/i<].

      • Wirko
      • 7 years ago

      At least there’s not need to guess how to pronounce G in Latin.

    • Walkintarget
    • 7 years ago

    Somebody, somewhere is creating a ‘Hitler reacts to the GIF announcement’ video right about now …

      • Arclight
      • 7 years ago

      Nein Nein Nein Nein

      • Meadows
      • 7 years ago

      Here, have this instead:
      [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJFW7-hyWpE[/url<]

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