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Oxford Word of the Year: 'Selfie' Beats Out 'Twerk'

By Alexandra Ward   |   Tuesday, 19 Nov 2013 06:57 AM

"Selfie" beat out "twerk" and "binge-watch" Monday to become the Oxford Dictionaries international Word of the Year.

Linguistics experts believe "selfie" originated online in 2002 but didn’t fully catch on until last year, when there was an uptick in users signing up for sites like Twitter and Instagram. According to Today.com, use of the word in the English language increased by 17,000 percent over the last year.

"Using the Oxford Dictionaries language research program, which collects around 150 million words of current English in use each month, we can see a phenomenal upward trend in the use of 'selfie' in 2013, and this helped to cement its selection as Word of the Year," Oxford Dictionaries Editorial Director Judy Pearsall said in a statement.

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Officially introduced as an OxfordDictionaries.com entry in August (definition: "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website"), "selfie" grew in popularity thanks to people like first lady Michelle Obama, Beyonce, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

A team of lexicographers, dictionary consultants, and Oxford's editorial, marketing, and publicity staff selected 2013's Word of the Year. Last year's winner was "GIF," a type of moving Internet image.

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"Selfie" beat out "twerk" and "binge-watch" Monday to become the Oxford Dictionaries international Word of the Year.

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