Mikyla Richards

Client Executive (London)

Grayling London, Victoria

The Oxford English Dictionaries observed a five times increase in the use of the word “selfie” this year, awarding it with an honored place in the current lexicon. When the Oxford English Dictionaries sat down to consider which word commanded enough prominence during the course of 2013 to be named the official word of the year, the choice was seemingly obvious. In an unusually unanimous decision, the group awarded the honor to two syllables that, when combined in a particular order, best describe a shared social experience known as the "selfie".

In case you aren't as hip as a reference librarian, here's the official definition for selfie (sometimes “selfy”): a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

The word was originally added to Oxford's quite broad online dictionaries in August. Being declared the "it" word for 2013 means that selfies have been everywhere this year. Indeed, in its blog post announcing the selection, Oxford explained, "If it is good enough for the Obamas or the Pope, then it is good enough for Word of the Year."

Some credit is likely due to Instagram for taking selfies this far, and it’s a little surprising that Instagram, the verb, (as in: "I'm totally going to instagram that sunset") has not yet made it into the Oxford vernacular.

Then again, selfies were being taken long before Instagram. According to Oxford Dictionaries' research, the phrase has been spotted online as early as 2002 in forum postings. MySpace and Flickr first helped popularise the term, but it wasn't until 2012 that it began to surface in mainstream media. It really took off this year, though - with the word's frequency of usage increasing five-fold between March and August.

So, it appears selfies are here to stay for a while. Oxford also makes note of additions to the word such as"helfie" (a picture of one's own hair) or "welfie" (a workout selfie)!

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