Selfie beats twerk to word of 2013 title

Actor Liam Hemsworth takes a 'selfie' with a fan. Picture: AP
Actor Liam Hemsworth takes a 'selfie' with a fan. Picture: AP
Share this article
Have your say

Selfie has been named the word of 2013, beating tough competition from twerk, binge-watch and showrooming.

Editors from Oxford Dictionaries, who made it their Word of 2013, said it has evolved from a niche social media tag into a mainstream term for a self-portrait photograph.

One of the most famous selfies this year was the Pope posing with teenagers at the Vatican. The picture went viral on social media and speculated as being the first ever “papal selfie”.

Oxford said the earliest known usage is an Australian online forum post from 2002: “Um, drunk at a mate’s 21st, I tripped ofer [sic] and landed lip first. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.”

A number of spin-off terms are also in circulation, such as helfie (a picture of someone’s hair), belfie (a picture of someone’s behind) and welfie (a picture of someone working out).

Judy Pearsall, editorial director for Oxford Dictionaries, said: “We can see a phenomenal upward trend in the use of selfie in 2013.

“Social media sites helped to popularise the term, with the hashtag #selfie appearing on the photo-sharing websites as early as 2004, but usage wasn’t widespread until around 2012, when selfie was being used commonly in mainstream media sources.”

The frequency of the word selfie has increased by 17,000 per cent since this time last year, ­according to research.

The shortlist also included binge-watch (to watch episodes of a television programme in rapid succession), showrooming (examining a product at a shop before buying online at a lower price) and twerk (dancing in a sexually provocative manner).