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“Selfie” Named English Word Of The Year

Submitted by on November 25, 2013 – 8:48 amOne Comment

The Oxford Dictionaries, the definitive guide of the English language, has selected “selfie” as the 2013 word of the year.

Some might wonder how the dubious, now-ubiquitous snapshots, taken in a mirror or at arm’s length, could become the word of the year. But the Oxford Dictionaries’ WOY is not necessary the “best” word. Oxford defines the WOY as “a word or expression that has attracted a great deal of interest during the year to date.” Sort of like Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, which has had some less-than-admirable title holders.

But Oxford makes a strong argument for the Year of the Selfie. Their website notes that the term’s usage saw a “phenomenal upward trend” in the past year, increasing 17,000% since this time last year.

As far as Oxford can tell, the word was first used in an Australian chatroom in 2002, in a post describing a drunken injury:

“Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer [sic] and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.”

Also, “selfie” was added to OxfordDictionaries.com in August. Its official definition is “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” The word has not been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, but “is currently being considered for future inclusion.”

It was one of several tech-related words to make the short list this year, including binge-watch, bitcoin, and showrooming.


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