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Friday 21 September 2018

'Selfie' snaps up word of the year title and proves it's more hip than twerking

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

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

The most famous example here recently came from former Westlife star Nicky Byrne, who tweeted a selfie of himself and wife Georgina Ahern with newborn daughter Gia.

Internationally, one of the most famous selfies this year was Pope Francis posing with teenagers at the Vatican. The picture went viral on social media and was speculated as being the first "Papal selfie".

 

BURGLAR

An eyebrow-raising selfie was taken by Samantha Cameron's sister on the morning of her wedding day, with David Cameron napping on a four-poster bed in the background. And selfies hit the headlines this week when a woman from Plymouth claimed that a burglar had broken into her flat and taken a selfie on her phone. The woman subsequently realised she had invited this man in for coffee.

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 on a set of steps. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie."

Many spin-off terms are in circulation, such as helfie (a picture of someone's hair), belfie (a picture of someone's behind), welfie (a picture of someone working out) and drelfie (a drunken selfie).

Judy Pearsall of Oxford Dictionaries said: "Using the Oxford Dictionaries language research programme, we can see a phenomenal upward trend in the use of selfie in 2013, and this helped to cement its selection as word of the year."

The frequency of the word selfie in the English language has increased by 17,000pc since this time last year, according to research by Oxford Dictionaries editors.

Selfie has not yet been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, although it is being considered for future inclusion.

The shortlist for Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013 included binge-watch (to watch multiple episodes of a television programme in rapid succession), showrooming (the practice of examining a product at a shop before buying it online at a lower price) and twerk (dancing in a sexually provocative manner by hip movements, as made famous by singer Miley Cyrus).

hnews@herald.ie

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