Oxford Word of The Year? Dictionary Takes a 'Selfie'
Rihanna and Miley Cyrus had something to do with this... somehow.
Ever thought Oxford Dictionary wasn’t cutting edge, cool and contemporary? Well shut up: the guys at the office are taking selfies all the time, twerking around their desks and binge watching House of Cards when they get home. It’s 2013.
Miley Cyrus is a real twerker
That convoluted opening paragraph exists because Oxford Dictionaries named 'Selfie' as their “Word of The Year”, while Twerk and Binge-watch were both shortlisted for the prize.
Just in case you didn’t know, a ‘selfie’ is a photo taken of one’s self. You can even do it in Grand Theft Auto, just pull out your phone and snap a selfie, it’s easy. ‘Twerking’ involves provocatively dancing to a pop song, while binge-watching is the practise of consuming numerous episodes of a TV show in one sitting.
Selfie is actually defined by Oxford Dictionaries as "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website". To qualify for the award, a word doesn’t have to have been coined in the past year, but must be a noticeable presence in the cultural zeitgeist. And selfie certainly fits those criteria with the continuous evolution of both technology and social media.
Judy Pearsall, editorial director for Oxford Dictionaries, 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." (BBC)
Rihanna is a prolific taker - and keen advocate of - the selfie
But where does the word come from? Pearsall’s the one to explain: "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,” she said.
“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."