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 Headlines

in Local

Maine Weathering Worst Acute Hepatitis C Outbreak Since ’90s

Fresh
GENERIC NEEDLES LARGE

As Maine continues to weather its worst acute hepatitis C outbreak since cases were recorded in the 1990s, health advocates say the state's heroin epidemic is to blame.

in Local

UMaine Scientist Says Plastic Bags Might Kill Pet Fish

GENERIC FISHING LURE

A University of Maine scientist says some bags used to transport pet fish home from aquariums leach a toxic chemical that might kill the animals.

in Local

Man Died at Sea of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

GENERIC INVESTIGATION LARGE

Maine authorities say a 59-year-old Vermont man died at sea of carbon monoxide poisoning last month about 13 miles off of York Harbor.

in Local

Groups Holding Anniversary Vigil about Lac-Megantic Disaster

Updated
Smoke rises from railway cars that were carrying crude oil after derailing in downtown Lac Megantic, Quebec, Canada, Saturday, July 6, 2013. A large swath of Lac Megantic was destroyed Saturday after a train carrying crude oil derailed, sparking several explosions and forcing the evacuation of up to 1,000 people. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)

Activists at a Portland, Maine, rally to commemorate the second anniversary of the Lac-Megantic, Quebec, rail disaster say the explosion underscores the need for more clean energy.

in Local

Gas Prices Fall a bit in Maine

GENERIC GAS PUMP

Gas prices in Maine have fallen nearly a penny per gallon in the past week.

Tweets

  • 48m
  • 1h
  • 4h
  • 4h
  • 4h
  • 4h
  • 5h