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A telling part of our modern recapping tradition is choosing “words of the year.” In 1789, lexicographers probably would have gone with guillotine. In 1912, iceberg surely would have been a contender. And for 2012, Oxford Dictionaries settled on GIF.
That’s GIF the verb, derived from GIF the file extension. These days, people often GIF snippets of movies or speeches to create funny little moving pictures on Tumblrs like this one. “The GIF, a compressed file format for images that can be used to create simple, looping animations, turned 25 this year,” notes Oxford University Press’ Katherine Martin, “but like so many other relics of the 80s, it has never been trendier.” (You know, like Betty White.)