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)

Recent Headlines

in National

More fights ahead on Planned Parenthood after Senate vote

Fresh
12-overlay

Now that the Senate has derailed Republican legislation halting federal dollars for Planned Parenthood, one thing seems clear: Many on both sides think they can ring up gains from the battle.

in Sports

Stanley Cup winner Schneider new Hall of Famer

Fresh
nhl

Stanley Cup winner Mathieu Schneider is among four new inductees to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

in Sports

Prosecutors: Hernandez tipster had sex ties with ex-NFL star

Fresh
aaronhernandez

Massachusetts prosecutors said on Monday that an anonymous caller, who told lawyers for former NFL star Aaron Hernandez that one of the jurors who found him guilty of murder should have been disqualified, had a sexual relationship with the athlete.

in Entertainment

Love is not dead: Will and Jada aren’t divorcing

Fresh
23-overlay

"Men in Black" star Will Smith took the unusual step of publicly shooting down a report that he and his actress wife of 17 years had decided to divorce.

in Music, Entertainment

Gwen and Gavin are calling it quits

Fresh
gwengavin

Is "The Voice" ruining marriages?