Selfie Named Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year

World | November 19, 2013, Tuesday // 13:38| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Selfie Named Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year Photo by The Guardian

Selfie – "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website" – has been named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries editors.

The title was awarded after the frequency of its usage increased by 17,000% over the past 12 months.

Editorial director Judy Pearsall said:

"Using the Oxford Dictionaries language research programme, which collects around 150m words of current English in use each month, we can see a phenomenal upward trend in the use of selfie in 2013, and this helped to cement its selection."

The word can be traced back to a post on an Australian online forum in 2002: "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."

It has since produced an array of spinoffs, including helfie (hairstyle self), belfie (bum selfie), welfie (workout selfie), drelfie (drunken selfie), and even bookshelfie – a snap taken for the purposes of literary self-promotion.

Judy Pearsall explained its evolution:

"The hashtag #selfie appeared on the photo-sharing website Flickr as early as 2004, but usage wasn't widespread until around 2012.

"In early examples, the word was often spelled with a -y, but the -ie form is more common today and has become the accepted spelling. The use of the diminutive -ie suffix is notable, as it helps to turn an essentially narcissistic enterprise into something rather more endearing. Australian English has something of a penchant for -ie words … so this helps to support the evidence for selfie having originated in Australia."

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