June 28, 2013


What is a "selfie"? Any old self portrait taken with a camera or specifically a picture taken with a cell phone at arm's length with the purpose of posting it on social media? And what about newer cell phones, the ones with forward facing cameras?

This BBC News Magazine article recently addressed "the rise of the 'selfie'."

Selfie-ism is everywhere. The word "selfie" has been bandied about so much in the past six months it's currently being monitored for inclusion in the Oxford Dictionary Online.
Actually, the OED listed "selfie" as one of the "words on the radar" a year ago:
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 attracted mainstream notice when it appeared in US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's riposte to a humorous Tumblr dedicated to an image of her texting [=Texts from Hillary Clinton]. Many commentators doubted that she had penned the riposte ["Sup Adam. Nice Selfie Stace"], saying such a Facebook-generation word was unlikely to be in her vocabulary. 
Original image by Kevin Lamarque for Reuters.
Although "selfie" still sounds pretty juvenile to me, the word has still fared a lot better than other words put on the radar by the OED the same month. Or do you know the meaning of squoob (prominent cleavage that protudes from a tight bodice), geried (geriatric emergency department in a hospital), or Phablet (a touchscreen device that is larger than a cell phone and smaller than a tablet)?  

Oh, and Hillary Clinton? She just posted the first selfie of herself and daugther Chelsea on Twitter, carefully not positioning herself as running the world.

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