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'Selfie' is 'runaway winner' as Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year

November 19, 2013|By Andrea Chang
  • Actress Meryl Streep uses her iPhone to take a selfie of her and then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton following a gala in Washington.
Actress Meryl Streep uses her iPhone to take a selfie of her and then-Secretary… (Kevin Wolf / Associated…)

"GIF" was so last year.

Oxford Dictionaries has released its 2013 word of the year, and, like last year, it has gone with a tech-savvy term: "selfie."

The formal definition of the word, for those of you not familiar with social media and/or narcissism, is a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically using a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website. For an example of a selfie, check out Kim Kardashian's swimsuit version.

In a blog post announcing the decision, Oxford Dictionaries called "selfie" the "runaway winner."

"The decision was unanimous this year, with little if any argument. This is a little unusual. Normally there will be some good-natured debate as one person might champion their particular choice over someone else’s. But this time, everyone seemed to be in agreement almost from the start."

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Other contenders included "twerk" (thank you, Miley Cyrus), "bitcoin," "showrooming" and "binge-watch."

Tech terms have been popular on Oxford's top-word list over the last decade. "GIF" took the top spot last year, and "unfriend" was No. 1 in 2009. "Podcast" was the word of the year back in 2005.

Oxford went on to say that it has already seen a proliferation of words piggy-backing off the popularity of "selfie."

"Its linguistic productivity is already being seen by the creation of a number of related 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)," Oxford said. "In fact, it seems that the words know no bounds, although some do seem rather forced."


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