Feature

Selfie: Your 2013 Oxford English Dictionary word of the year

Time to celebrate!

All kinds of people take selfies for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes it's a self-esteem booster. Sometimes it's to remind loved ones, "Hey! I'm alive." And sometimes, you Snapchat a selfie while wearing your cat as a neck scarf because it's Tuesday, so why not?

Now, the Oxford English Dictionary is recognizing all your hard work squinting into a front-facing camera: The venerable gatekeepers of the English language have just made the term "selfie" their 2013 word of the year. Sorry, "twerk"!

"Language research conducted by Oxford Dictionaries editors reveals that the frequency of the word selfie in the English language has increased by 17,000 percent since this time last year," the Oxford writes in an announcement.

Selfie can actually be traced back to 2002 when it was used in an Australian online forum. The word gained momentum throughout the English-speaking world in 2013 as it evolved from a social media buzzword to mainstream shorthand for a self-portrait photograph. Its linguistic productivity is already evident in the creation of numerous related spin-off terms showcasing particular parts of the body like helfie (a picture of one's hair) and belfie (a picture of one's posterior); a particular activity – welfie (workout selfie) and drelfie (drunken selfie), and even items of furniture — shelfie and bookshelfie. [OED]

Selfie joins a growing list of digital shorthand to eke out rank in the OED's pecking order. In 2012, "GIF" managed to squeeze by "YOLO." The year before that, "squeezed middle" — the term for people with average incomes, coined by our friends in the U.K. — took top honors, although "podcast" managed to crack the list of finalists.

So congrats, selfie! You deserve it. Let's all celebrate by sneaking drelfies at lunchtime.

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