Get down with your bad ‘selfie’ — the 2013 word of the year

It’s ready for its closeup: The word “selfie” has just been named word of the year by the Oxford dictionaries.

The word, which basically means to take a photo of your fabulous self and share it with the world — on Instagram, Twitter or your choice of social media platform — beat out other tech-related words such as binge-watch (v. to plop down on your couch and watch a whole season or two of a TV series till your eyes bleed), bitcoin (n. the magic online currency you keep hearing about) and showrooming (n. the act of not really shopping at a physical store except to test out what you know you’ll be buying on Amazon).

Also on the shortlist was “twerk,” which has nothing to do with tech, so we won’t touch that one.

As Mike Cassidy noted over the summer when Oxford came out with its list of new words, tech-related words had a strong showing. Some of them were digital detox, emoji, hackerspace and MOOC.

But back to the selfie, which has become so ubiquitous that Oxford named it the 2013 words of the year in both the U.S. and the U.K.  Oxford says its roots go back to 2002, when it was first used in an Australian online forum. Usage of the word has apparently skyrocketed 17,000 percent from a year ago.

And the photos themselves have become so popular that Michelle Obama, and Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, have posted selfies. What’s more, the one and only Justin Bieber — the pop star who’s been known to take a selfie or two — has backed a recently launched app called Shots of Me, which is centered on the self-centered selfie.


Photo: Pope Francis smiles as he is subjected to selfies with youths on a pilgrimage to Rome in August. (Associated Press)


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  • Steve Hammill

    Closely related to the word “selfish.”
    Seems to describe the current state of affairs on so many levels. 🙁