'Selfie' named word of the year for 2013

USA TODAY - Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year for 2013 definitely captures a snapshot of our social-media-obsessed moment.

That's right -- it's "selfie."

In case you don't know what a selfie is, Oxford Dictionaries defines it as:

(n.) a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

It's not a new word -- its origins date to a 2002 posting in an Australian Web forum,according to Reuters -- but that doesn't matter. "The Word of the Year need not have been coined within the past 12 months and it does not have to be a word that will stick around for a good length of time," Judy Pearsall, editorial director for Oxford Dictionaries, tells Reuters.

According to Oxford's editors, use of the word has gone up a staggering 17,000% since 2012, Reuters reports.

During that same time, use of the selfie has probably gone up at least that much among celebrities. In the past few months alone, arm's-length photos of Mariah Carey, Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Aniston, Nick Jonas and Chris Pratthave all gone viral. And a British poll in July rated Rihanna the world's best when it comes to taking the self-aimed shot.

Meanwhile, what about "twerk"? The word seemed inescapable for much of the year, especially after Cyrus' performance at the MTV VMAs in August. Time's Lily Rothman makes a strong case that it should have won.


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