‘Selfie’ Is the Word of the Year According to Oxford Dictionaries

self checkout

self checkout

You know what you’ve been thinking about a lot recently? Yourself! While self reflection has been around since the dawn of mankind, our attention spans seems to have shifted even more towards the center of our own universe: ourselves. So it comes as no surprise today to hear that Oxford Dictionaries has announced that “selfie” is its international Word of the Year for 2013!

The selfie can be traced back to 2002 where it was first spotted in an Aussie 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.
– 2002 ABC Online (forum posting) 13 Sept.

Perhaps aided by our dependency on self-serving mobile and camera technology, the word quickly gained momentum throughout the English-speaking world in 2013 as it evolved from a social media buzzword to the main way we now communicate: self portrait photographs.

shark selfie

Just how popular are selfies? Researchers at Oxford Dictionaries have revealed that the frequency of the word being used is up 17,000% since last year.

Editorial Director for Oxford Dictionaries Judy Pearsall explained the decision, saying “Using the Oxford Dictionaries language research programme, which 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.”

Selfie has also spawned many child selfies that indicate particular states of being while taking selfies, including the “welfie” (workout selfie) and “drelfie” (drunken selfie). The word can also be applied to inanimate objects; for example you could prove your literacy by taking a “shelfie” or “bookshelfie.”

The Rise of the Selfie

Judy Pearsall went into the evolution of the word selfie further:

Social media sites helped to popularize the term, with the tag ‘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.

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. 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 – 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.”

selfies per hour

So how many selfies do you take per hour?
Images via imgur

Daniel Zeevi

By Daniel Zeevi

Daniel is a social network architect, web developer, infographic designer, writer, speaker and founder of DashBurst. Full-time futurist and part-time content curator, always on the hunt for disruptive new technology, creative art and web humor.