Oxford Dictionaries Name ‘Selfie’ as Word of 2013

Oxford Dictionaries Name ‘Selfie’ as Word of 2013
Photo courtesy of NASA

‘Selfie’ is a word that is very definitely a 21st century word — it’s defined by the Oxford Dictionaries as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”, something that didn’t exist a mere 13 years ago. It’s also their choice for the word of 2013.

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."

There are permutations of the word, as we reported earlier this year, there’s ‘bookshelfie’ or just ‘shelfie’, where the individual takes a selfie in front of their bookcase; ‘helfie’, which is a hairstyle selfie; ‘belfie’, or bum selfie; not to mention ‘drelfie’, which is a drunken selfie.

Other words that made the shortlist included: ‘twerk’ (thanks Miley); ‘schmeat’, meaning “meat produced synthetically from biological tissue”; and ‘binge-watch’, defined as “to watch multiple episodes of a television programme in rapid succession”.

With last year’s choice being ‘omnishambles’, meaning “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations”, the annual choice of word is definitely of the moment. Who’s to say we’ll be using any of these words in a 100 years? But I’ll bet you’ve taken a selfie, haven’t you?

Image of New Oxford American Dictionary 3rd Edition
Author: Oxford University Press
Price: $33.26
Publisher: Oxford University Press (2010)
Binding: Hardcover, 2096 pages
Dean Fetzer

News by Dean Fetzer

Dean Fetzer is originally from a small town in eastern Colorado, but has lived in London, England, for the past 21 years. After a career in graphic design, he started a pub review website in the late 90’s; He left that in 2011 to concentrate on his thriller writing, as well as offering publishing services for authors, poets and artists. When not writing - or in the pub - he can be found in the theatre, live music venues and travelling.

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Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things November 20, 2013 - 10:43am

We really need to invent some aesthetically pleasing words next year. At this rate, we're all going to sound like bridge trolls by the end of the century.

Incyde Out Boy's picture
Incyde Out Boy from Melstrand is reading This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel J. Levitin November 22, 2013 - 10:21am

Every time I hear or see the world "Selfie" it reminds me of something Einstein said about people and technology. It makes me think about how shallow and self absorbed people in our generation are, and how (especially western) society projects itself as a "Granfaloon" of imbeciles.