"Omnishambles" and "gif" are words of the year
Oxford University Press on Tuesday crowned it its top term of 2012. It defined it as "a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations."
Each year Oxford University Press tracks how the English language is changing. It chooses a word that best reflects the mood of the year. The publisher typically chooses separate British and American winners. This year's American champion is "gif," short for graphics interchange format, a common format for images on the Internet.
Coined by writers of the satirical television show "The Thick of It," omnishambles has been applied to everything from government PR blunders to the crisis-ridden preparations for the London Olympics.
Oxford University Press lexicographer Susie Dent said the word was chosen for its popularity as well as its "linguistic productivity."
She said "a notable coinage coming from the word is Romneyshambles." This is a derisive term used by the British press after U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney expressed doubts about London's ability to host a successful Olympics.
Critical thinking challenge: Why are different words chosen for Britain and America when we both speak English?
Define these words: gaffe, lexicographer, derisive
- Posted on November 12, 2012