News

‘Selfie’ beats ‘twerk’ for word of the year

‘Selfie’ beats ‘twerk’ for word of the year

BUZZWORDS: Reality mom Kris Kardashian manages to work in two buzzwords: making a "duck face" while taking a "selfie." Way to trend, Kris.

LONDON (Reuters) – “Selfie” – a self portrait usually on a smartphone or webcam – was selected word of the year on Tuesday by the Oxford Dictionaries, based on a 17,000 percent rise in its usage from a year ago.

“Selfie” was chosen after it “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”, Oxford Dictionaries said in a statement.

The spike in popularity of the word, whose origin can be traced back to an Australian online forum in 2002, was based on “language research conducted by Oxford Dictionaries editors”, the publisher said.

“Selfie” beat a number of other buzzwords of 2013, including “twerk” referring to dancing in a sexually provocative manner and which was popularized by singer Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards last August.

PHOTOS: Celebrity ‘selfies’

“The Word of the Year need not have been coined within the past 12 months and it does not have to be a word that will stick around for a good length of time,” Judy Pearsall, editorial director for Oxford Dictionaries, said.

“It is very difficult to predict accurately which new words will have staying power, and only time will tell if these words have lasting significance,” she added.

“Selfie” has spawned a raft of spinoffs, including “helfie” for a picture taken of someone’s own hair, “belfie” for taking a picture of your own posterior and “drelfie” for a self portrait while in a drunken state.

The word’s usage was based on statistical analysis of the Oxford English Corpus, which is a structured set of texts stored electronically, and specifically the New Word Monitor Corpus, Oxford Dictionaries said.

It said that the New Monitor Corpus collects around 150 million words in use each month, using automated criteria to scan new web content using the English language worldwide.

This is used to track and verify new and emerging words and senses on a daily basis, and the firm has a dedicated team of editors whose job it is to add new words to the Oxford English Dictionary and OxfordDictionaries.com using this data.

(Writing by Michael Roddy; Editing by William Hardy)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

This weekend in entertainment history

rainman

A look back on some of Hollywood's most memorable headlines.

in Music

Taylor Swift, Joe Walsh surprise fans at Kenny Chesney concert

Kenny Chesney performs on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Friday, Aug. 9, 2013 in New York.

Taylor Swift and Joe Walsh surprised the crowd at a Kenny Chesney concert by appearing onstage for impromptu duets.

in Music

This week’s top country tracks

aldean

LISTEN: This week's top country tracks, according to the latest Billboard chart.

in Entertainment

Angelina Jolie crowned world’s top feminist icon

Angelina Jolie arrives at the 20th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, in Los Angeles.

Angelina Jolie and Emma Watson top the list of the world's foremost feminist icons.

in Entertainment, National

Celebrities protest new Indiana law

George Takei poses for a portrait at Quaker Good Energy Lodge with GenArt and the Collective , during the Sundance Film Festival, on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 in Park City, Utah.

Celebrities call for an Indiana boycott after the passing of a controversial law that could lead to discrimination against gay couples.