2013 Word of the Year: Selfie

Miley Cyrus and her twerking weren't enough for Oxford Dictionaries

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 19, 2013 7:14 AM CST

(Newser) – What do the first daughters, Pope Francis, and countless celebs have in common? They all made headlines with selfies in 2013, making it easy for Oxford Dictionaries to choose its annual word of the year. "Selfie" was a rare unanimous decision for the organization, it reports on its blog. The word was actually featured as far back as June 2012 on the dictionaries' site, but this year, "it seems like everyone who is anyone has posted a selfie somewhere on the Internet." Some selfie facts:

  • "Selfie" has been around since at least 2002, the blog notes. That's when an Australian student wrote online about falling over while drunk at a 21st birthday party, accompanying his post with a photo of a damaged pair of lips, the Telegraph reports (it has the photo). "Sorry about the focus, it was a selfie," his post read.
  • Though the word has existed for more than a decade, "it has only entered really common use in the past year or so," the blog points out. In fact, usage has increased 17,000% within the year, Time reports.
  • "Given that more and more tools are created every day that encourage us to focus on ourselves—to publicly share our opinions, our whereabouts, our calorie intakes, our playlists, and our dogs’ mistakes—Oxford Dictionaries' choice certainly seems to capture the zeitgeist: 2013 was a selfie year," writes Katy Steinmetz in the magazine..
  • Runners-up include "twerk" and "bitcoin," the Telegraph notes.
  • Time has this year's 11 biggest selfies, including shots of the Obamas and the pontiff—but not Kim Kardashian.

This June 17, 2013 file photo shows a fan taking a selfie with Brad Pitt at the premiere of World War Z in Times Square.
This June 17, 2013 file photo shows a fan taking a selfie with Brad Pitt at the premiere of "World War Z" in Times Square.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
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