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From the Dept of You are Old: 'Selfie' officially 'Word of the Year'

Oxford Dictionaries heralds 'runaway winner'

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It's official: "Selfie" is Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year 2013, proving the "runaway winner" of the crown following its elevation back in August to Oxford Dictionaries Online.

Defined as "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website", selfie's origins have so far been traced back to a September 2002 forum posting to Oz's ABC Online:*

Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.

The Oxford Dictionaries decision was unanimous, with other shortlisted candidates including "twerk", "bitcoin" and "schmeat" (synthetically grown meat) unable to compete with the selfie.

Last year's winner was "omnishambles", which had more than a touch of flavour of the month about it and is likely doomed to linguistic oblivion unless it gets some net-friendly Antipodean syllabic liposuction, emerging from the operating theatre as "clustie". ®

Bootnote

*Yup, those of you who awake at night in a cold sweat, fearful that our beloved mother tongue is going to hell in a handcart can blame selfie on the Australians, and their penchant for the -ie suffix.

As Oxford Dictionaries notes, Lucky Country natives are seemingly capable of taking any noun and slapping -ie on the end, as witnessed by "barbie", "tinnie" and "Aussie", in the process reducing it to a handy two syllables.

The suffix -o is similarly fertile, yielding "arvo" (afternoon), "ambo" (paramedic, from "ambulance"), and "relo" (relative).

Examples gleaned by this hack Down Under include being informed I'd "have to do a blockie" (="drive round the block"), and "that's a lovely display of rhodos there mate", as one TV gardener exclaimed to another when admiring his magnificent rhododendrons.

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