Australians will either be immensely proud or deeply embarrassed about this, but it looks as though Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year – ‘Selfie’ – originates from down under.
Ever been involved in "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website"? Then you’ve taken a ‘selfie’, and contributed to the evolution (or bastardisation) of language in your own little way.
But your contribution isn’t as bit as Australia’s. The word can be traced back to 2002, when someone posted on an online forum: "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."
The word has become so widespread in the last year, that various spinoffs have formed. We’re talking: helfie (hairstyle selfie), belfie (bum selfie), welfie (workout selfie), drelfie (drunken selfie), and even bookshelfie (showing off how much you read selfie). Does the English language know no bounds? It appears not.
Judy Pearsall – Editorial Director for Oxford Dictionaries - 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." (Guardian.co.uk)
Other words in consideration for the Word of The Year award were 'twerking' and 'binge-watch,' made famous by Miley Cyrus and Netflix respectively.
"In early examples,” Pearshall continued, “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."
Rihanna is partial to selfie or two on her Instagram account, despite the amount of people taking pics.