It’s the sign of the times. The publisher of the Oxford Dictionaries has named “selfie” the Word of the Year.
“The decision was unanimous this year, with little if any argument. This is a little unusual,” Oxford University Press said in a post on its website.
“Normally there will be some good-natured debate as one person might champion their particular choice over someone else’s. But this time, everyone seemed to be in agreement almost from the start.”
This year’s short list included “twerk,” “bitcoin,” “binge-watch” and “showrooming.”
The 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.”
The publisher said although “selfie” was the runaway winner, it was not a new word.
It had been included in the online edition of Oxford Dictionaries and was part of the publisher’s occasional Words on the Radar series last year.
“It seems like everyone who is anyone has posted a ‘selfie’ somewhere on the Internet. If it is good enough for the Obamas or the Pope, then it is good enough for Word of the Year.”
The publisher said the word was first used 11 years ago, at an Internet forum in Australia in 2002, long before people began posting their self-portraits on various social media sites.
It said the suffix “ie” in “selfie” could also explain its Australian origin.
“Australian English has something of a penchant for ie words — barbie for barbecue, firie for firefighter, tinnie for a can of beer, to name just three.”
No word yet on when “selfie” would be added to the print version of the Oxford English Dictionary.
Oxford University Press is a department of Britain’s famous Oxford University.