"Selfie" is Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year. We blame the internet.
And your word of the year is… “selfie”, crowned by the Oxford Dictionaries, thanks to its abundant use on social media in 2013. Now Media students far and wide can begin essays with the phrase “The Oxford English Dictionary defines “selfie” as…” Well, not exactly.
The word still hasn’t actually made it into the dictionary because one of the criteria is longevity, but “selfie” certainly has exploded in popularity over the past few years. Reportedly originating from an Australian online forum in the distant 2002, the word refers to "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website," as defined by Oxford Dictionaries. The word of the year is meant to showcase the inventiveness of English speakers in the face of social, political or technological change. While the word doesn’t have to have originated in the past twelve months, it has to have become prominent in the past year to be nominated. To give you an idea of how the word of the year reflects social trends, the list of previous words of the year includes “chav” (2004), “carbon footprint” (UK, 2007), “unfriend” (US, 2009), “big society” (2010, UK) and GIF (verb) (US, 2012).
“Selfie” is being considered for inclusion in the Oxford English Dictionary. Runners-up include “bedroom tax”, “binge-watch”, “schmeat”, “twerk” and others. We’ll let you have a nice long googl-ing session to find out what all of those mean.
Publishing companies have been having a field day with the announcement.