Thanks To Social Media 'Selfie' Becomes Word Of The Year
Posted: November 19, 2013 by Emily Brown
The word that fired up the likes of Instagram this year, aka 'selfie', has been named the international word of 2013 by Oxford Dictionaries.
According to Oxford Dictionaries, 'selfie's' first occurrence dates back to 2002, when it was used in an Australian online forum to describe a self-taken portrait. Ever since, the coinage has been popularized, initially by image-sharing sites like Flickr, where it was used as hashtag in 2004; and then it became fully exploited around 2012, when it started to be commonly used in mainstream media, including Twitter and Facebook.
As Oxford editors explained they opted for 'selfie' among other terms because the word has steadily evolved from a niche social media tag into a mainstream term for a self-portrait. To determine the winner, they had to choose from some serious competition, including 'bitcoin' – a digital currency; 'twerk' – a kind of dance to popular music; and 'showrooming' – the act of examining a product in a shop before buying it online at a lower price.
Oxford Dictionaries has been presenting this prestigious title to contemporary coinages that attracted a lot of interest during a particular year since 2004. Some of the words that had won the honor include 'omnishambles' – a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged; (2012), 'squeezed middle' (2011) – a section of society deemed to be most affected by inflation and tax rises; 'refudiate' (2010) – that suggests a general sense of 'reject'; and 'unfriend' (2009) – that means to remove a person from a list of friends on a social networking website.
What's common about all of these terms is that most, if not, all of them were created or popularized through social media that slowly rise to become a main generator of fresh vocabulary. Well, English is a living language and we'd better get used to welcoming new additions to its family.