Today the Oxford Dictionary blog named “selfie” its “Word of the Year.”
Oxford said that usually, there is debate regarding the award, but this year, selfie was a runaway hit. They said, “If [selfie] is good enough for the Obamas or The Pope, then it is good enough for Word of the Year.”
Oxford does not require that a word be invented the year it wins the award, but only that it shows some special connection to it. In fact, selfie can be found online as far back as 2002. In an Australian forum, Oxford found this:
“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.”
Oxford points out that really, selfies, or self-portraits, have been around for centuries, painted on oil and canvas prior, and now rapidly captured using smartphones.
Interestingly, Oxford says that “selfy” is an alternate spelling, but that this version seems somehow more arrogant. They said:
“It could be argued that the use of the -ie suffix helps to turn an essentially narcissistic enterprise into something rather more endearing. It also provides a tie-in with the word’s seemingly Australian origins, as Australian English has something of a penchant for -ie words – barbie for barbecue, firie for firefighter, tinnie for a can of beer, to name just three.”
Oxford goes on to list some selfie variants showcasing the power of the word including “helfie,” a picture of one’s hair, “welfie,” a workout selfie, and a “drelfie,” a drunken selfie.
Justin Bieber is likely happy about this as he recently got behind the creation of a “selfie app,” dedicated to sharing selfies and only selfies, and aimed at his audience of 50m+ twitter followers.