LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

LONDON Michelle Obama shared one with her first dog Bo, Hillary Clinton tweeted one with her daughter Chelsea. Now selfie the smartphone self-portrait has been declared word of the year for 2013, according to Britain's Oxford University Press.

The publisher of the Oxford dictionaries said Tuesday that selfie saw a huge jump in usage in the past year, bursting from the confines of Instagram and Twitter to become mainstream shorthand for any self-taken photograph.

Researchers behind the renowned dictionaries pick a prominent word or expression in the English language each year that best reflects the mood of the times. Previous words of the year have included unfriend in 2009, credit crunch in 2008, carbon footprint in 2007 and Sudoku in 2005.

Judy Pearsall, the editorial director for Oxford Dictionaries, said selfie appeared to have been first used in 2002 on an Australian online forum, and the hashtag #selfie appeared on the photo-sharing website Flickr in 2004.

But usage wasn't widespread until around 2012, when 'selfie' was being used commonly in mainstream media, she said.

Australian English sometimes uses the suffix -ie such as barbie for barbeque and tinnie for a can of beer which helps to explain where selfie may have come from, Pearsall added.

Oxford usually assigns a separate word of the year to the U.S. and to the U.K., but it said selfie captured the imagination on both sides of the Atlantic this year.

The term beat other buzzwords including twerk, the sexually provocative dance move that got a huge boost in usage thanks to an attention-grabbing performance by pop star Miley Cyrus; showrooming, the practice of visiting a shop to look at a product before buying it online at a lower price; and Bitcoin, the digital currency that gained widespread media attention.

Also making the shortlist was binge-watch, a verb that describes watching many episodes of a TV show in rapid succession.

The words were chosen by a research program that monitors online content and collects around 150 million words of English in use each month.

Selfie was added to the online version of the Oxford dictionary in August and is being considered for future inclusion in the more traditional Oxford English Dictionary.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/2014/08/05/13351588/