“Selfie” is the 2013 word of the year, Oxford Dictionaries announced on Tuesday, edging out some stiff competition from “twerk”.
of the word has increased 17,000 per cent over the past 12 months, said
Oxford Dictionaries, which publishes the mammoth Oxford English
Dictionary (OED), styled as the definitive record of the English
“Selfie” is defined as “a photograph that
one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or
webcam and uploaded to a social media website”.
In 2013, it evolved from a social media buzzword to mainstream shorthand for a self-portrait photo.
Pearsall, editorial director for Oxford Dictionaries, said their
language research programme collects around 150 million 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 as word of the year,” she said.
research found that the frequency of the word “selfie” in the English
language increased by 17,000 per cent since this time last year.
The earliest known usage of the word was traced to an Australian online forum post in September 2002.
Pearsall said: “Social media sites helped to popularise the term, with
the hashtag selfie appearing on the photo-sharing website Flickr as
early as 2004, but usage wasn’t widespread until around 2012, when
selfie was being used commonly in mainstream media sources.
use of the diminutive -ie suffix is notable, as it helps to turn an
essentially narcissistic enterprise into something rather more
She added: “Australian English has
something of a penchant for -ie words — barbie for barbecue, firie for
firefighter, tinnie for a can of beer — so this helps to support the
evidence for selfie having originated in Australia.”
Selfie is not in the OED but the multi-volume dictionary is currently considering the term for inclusion.
other words on the shortlist for word of the year were: bedroom tax
(opponents’ term for a British welfare policy change); binge-watch
(watching multiple television episodes in succession); bitcoin (a
digital currency); olinguito (South American mammal); schmeat (synthetic
meat); showrooming (looking at items in shops then buying online) and
(The Hindu, 20:11:2013)
The verb to twerk was described as to “dance
to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting
hip movements and a low, squatting stance”. Twerking rocketed to fame
when U.S. performer Miley Cyrus did the dance at the MTV video music
awards in August.