Drake‘s “YOLO” was bested by “GIF” for word of the year honors, as awarded by Oxford Dictionaries USA. The two popular acronyms recently squared off in the battle of word influence. 

While YOLO (You Only Live Once) exploded into infamy this year because of its whimsical use, GIF has had a year filled with happy memes, minus the controversy. The acronym GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) is used to describe the animated images, often comical, that are mostly shared online through social media. 

YOLO, according to Oxford Dictionaries USA is “typically used as rationale or endorsement for impulsive or irresponsible behavior.” Drake coined the term on the single “The Motto” from his 2011 album Take Care.

“Now she want a photo/ You already know though,” he raps, “You only live once, that’s the motto n***a (YOLO).”  

The popularity of the song was surpassed by the ubiquitous use of the term, which was promoted by enthusiastic social media users who helped ignite a backlash of sorts. Drake admitted in one interview that it was “like an epidemic.”

SEE ALSO: Life (And Death) Of ‘Yolo‘ 

According to Oxford Dictionaries USA, the Word of the Year is selected for attracting interest and embodying “in some way the ethos of the year.” There is also no guarantee that it will make its way into the English dictionaries. 

Other words in the running that lost to GIF Include the following, as defined by Oxford Dictionary USA

Eurogeddon: the potential financial collapse of the European Union countries that have adopted the euro, envisaged as having catastrophic implications for the region’s economic stability [from euro + (Arma)geddon]

Higgs boson: a subatomic particle whose existence is predicted by the theory that unified the weak and electromagnetic interactions

MOOC: massive open online course; a university course offered free of charge via the Internet

Nomophobia: anxiety caused by being without one’s mobile phone [from no + mo(bile) + phobia]

Erik Parker, CBS Local


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