Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Vocabulary Lesson: Selfie

This month's lessons are about the words recently added to the Oxford Dictionary.

Today's word is selfie. It's short-hand for "self-portrait." The term is generally reserved for instances when the photograph is taken with a smartphone or similar device, and the photo is uploaded online, usually to a social media site, like Facebook or Instagram. The word can be used in a sentence or as a hashtag.

Its inclusion in the dictionary has an interesting backstory. From the Dictionary's blog:

This colloquial term for a photographic self-portrait has thus far appeared primarily in social media contexts. In fact, we see more evidence for it on the Oxford Twitter Corpus than in the much larger Oxford English Corpus or the Nexis database. However, selfie attracted mainstream notice when it appeared in US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s response to a humorous Tumblr dedicated to an image of her texting. Many commentators doubted that she had penned the riposte herself, saying such a Facebook-generation word was unlikely to be in her vocabulary.
Thanks, Hill!

Additional Resources 
Buzzworthy words added to Oxford Dictionaries Online – squee!, Oxford Dictionaries
Words on the radar: June 2012, Oxford Dictionary
Selfie, Oxford Dictionary

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