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'Selfie' Named Word of the Year

  • VOA News

U.S. actor Brad Pitt poses for a photo with a fan upon arrival at the South Korea premiere of his latest film "World War Z" in Seoul on June 11, 2013.

U.S. actor Brad Pitt poses for a photo with a fan upon arrival at the South Korea premiere of his latest film "World War Z" in Seoul on June 11, 2013.

"Selfie” is the Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year after beating back competition from words like "twerk," according to a release by the company.

Selfie, which was the unanimous winner, is basically synonymous with self-portrait, but with a tech edge because of its widespread use in social media and on photosharing sites.

The official definition of selfie is “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website,” according to Oxford Dictionaries, which added the work to its online dictionary in August.

According to the company, the word selfie dates as far back as 2002, when an Australian posted a photo of himself in an Internet forum. That the word is spelled with an -ie rather than a -y also gives credence to the Australian origin as Australians are fond of words ending in -ie, the company said.

By 2012, selfie was commonly being used in mainstream media sources and this has been rising ever since.

Even First Lady Michelle Obama and the Pope have taken selfies.

Oxford Dictionaries said there are already numerous variations of the word, including "helfie" (a picture of one’s hair) and "belfie" (a picture of one’s posterior). There is also versions of particular activities: "welfie" (workout selfie) and "drelfie" (drunken selfie).

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