Oxford Dictionaries named Selfie as the word of 2013, as its usage has increased by 17,000% this year. The expression has become viral with the help of powerful figures such as the Pope, whose pictures taken with teenagers had become popular on the web. In addition, selfies of Barak Obama and his family has contributed to the phenomenon.
Oxford Dictionary defines selfie as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”. Oxford used a program that collects 150 million English words used on the Internet to calculate its increase.
Oxford claims that the word selfie originated in Australia in a 2002 ABC online forum, which stated “Drunk at a mate’s 21st […] I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.”
Selfies have extended into spin off words such as “drelfie”, which means a drunk selfie; “welfie”, meaning a worked out selfie; and “helfie”, meaning a hair selfie.
Written by Kim Pham and Nadia Abdel-Malek