Oxford’s Word of the Year: Selfie

Oxford's Word of the Year: Selfie

On Instagram alone, more than 57 million photos are under the hashtag #selfie. With this many people using the word it’s no wonder why Oxford chose “selfie” as word of the year.

Past words of the year have been terms like “unfriend” in 2009, and “Sudoku” in 2005.

The editorial director for Oxford Dictionaries, Judy Pearsall, says that “selfie” was used for the first time on an Australian forum in 2002, and in 2004 the hashtag #selfie made its debut on Flickr: a photo-sharing website. Widespread use of the word didn’t appear until 2012.

Even though Oxford tends to assign word of the year to the U.S. and the U.K. separately, this year “selfie” was used widely on both continents.

“Selfie” won the competition over other words that made their debut or were popularly used during the course of this year. Words such as “twerk” which can thank Miley Cyrus for its fame, and “binge-watch,” watching many episodes of a show in one sitting. “Bitcoin,” digital currency and “showrooming,” going to a shop and looking at the product before buying it for less money or online, also fell short to “selfie.”

After already being added to the online version of the Oxford dictionary, “selfie” may be added in the traditional Oxford English Dictionary.