And the Word of the Year Is…”Selfie”

By on 11-20-2013

Oxford Dictionaries has finally announced its much-anticipated “Word of the Year,” and the winner is “selfie.” Apparently, the vote was unanimous, which is rather atypical. The definition of the word, according to the Dictionaries is as follows:

selfie- (n.) a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website

Word Origin

The word “selfie” has been in use since at least 2002 when an Aussie posted a rather unflattering picture of himself after a party to an online forum. Since then, the word has become part of the mainstream vernacular, thanks to the widespread use of both smartphones and social media networks.

Why “Selfie”?

So, if “selfie” isn’t new, then why is it 2013’s word of the year? According to Oxford Dictionaries’ blog, the winning word is chosen because it reflects “the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year” and is predicted to “have lasting potential as a word of cultural significance.” In other words, “selfie” was chosen because everyone is either posting selfies or talking about other people’s selfies, even Obama and The Pope. According tothis infographic, the use of the word has increased by over 17,000% in 2013 alone.


What does it mean that a word such as “selfie” has become so commonplace? Could it mean that we as a culture are becoming insecure narcissists (is that possible?) who spend our collective free time fishing for compliments on social media platforms? We tremble to think.

In the meantime, let’s just be glad they didn’t pick another word on the shortlist—“twerk.”


The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013 is…

Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year: Frequently Asked Questions