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)

Latest Stories

in Sports

Soccer rocked as top FIFA officials arrested in U.S. corruption probe

Updated
fifaarrests

Seven of the most powerful figures in soccer face extradition to the U.S. after their arrest in Switzerland, where authorities also announced a criminal investigation into the awarding of the next two World Cups.

in National

Ford recalls nearly a half-million vehicles

ford

Ford has recalled several models, including the Mustang and Taurus, for a power steering problem.

in Entertainment

Want something sold? Get Liam Neeson to pitch it

liamneeson

The "Taken" star has edged out fellow Irish actor Pierce Brosnan to be named the most effective celebrity pitchman.