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

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", …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Let it die - I much prefer clusterfuck.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: "omnishambles"

      Agreed. Perfectly good term.

  2. whitespacephil

    Is it?

  3. TRT Silver badge

    So the Judoon...

    are Australian?

  4. Anonymous Coward


    The -ie and -o suffixes originated in Blighty but Australia seems to have claimed them now. The difference is that in the UK they are used to shorten words. This is not always the case in Aus: Tinnie is longer than tin.

    1. Irony Deficient

      Van Diemen’s Land writ large

      Mahatma Coat, the Australian usage seems more focused on making diminutives rather than abbreviating, so the better comparison could be to the -je et al. in Dutch.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Van Diemen’s Land writ large

        focused on making diminutives rather than abbreviating

        It's an abbreviation. A tinnie doesn't mean a small tin.

        1. ChrisBedford

          Re: Van Diemen’s Land writ large

          It's an abbreviation. A tinnie doesn't mean a small tin.

          Actually, yes it does. Not smaller in the literal sense, but metaphorically, as in downplaying its importance or impact.

        2. Irony Deficient


          Mahatma Coat, to build upon Chris’ point, I’ll quote from a book on Dutch grammar regarding diminutives:

          Diminutives often indicate smallness, but they may also express a variety of attitudes toward an object or person: familiarity, affection, tenderness, irony, or even disdain. Often they lend an untranslatable connotation to a word, something that only the native speaker can perceive.

          In my view, this explains the Australian usage better than abbreviations would.

  5. frank ly

    What about 'Crimbo' (Chrimbo?)

    Did the Aussies make that one up?

  6. Jim 59

    No, it's all about the BEDROOM TAX !

    and a word can be two words... according to Radio 4 this morning. Interview on Today:

    Radio 4: Can you suggest any suitable words

    wonk: Bedroom tax

    Radio 4: er... that has political connotations

    wonk: yes bedroom tax blah want to talk about poll tax too... yeah poll tax right?

    Radio 4: what about "seriesbinging"?

    wonk: yes that is when a person watches a whole series eg. Breaking Bad, blah blah either digitally or from a DVD... blah...

    and DVD stands for...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The evolution of the English language really is slowing down.

    Also, we've been doing that to words in the NE of Scotland since long before Australia was invaded and gentrified, or so the wifie in the shoppie said. But then I suppose more people have watched Neighbours than Roughnecks. "What the..." Yes, exactly.

    1. Joe Drunk

      Re: Wow

      Not so much evolution of English language slowing down as Oxford Dictionary's desperation for mainstream acceptance into pop culture.

      1. Matt 21

        Re: Wow

        You've got a point!

        Kids use funny phrases and words when they're young but generally they stop as they grow up, just as I did, just as my parents and grand parents before them did. The only modern change is that some people seem to have decided that what the kids say is 'cool' and that the rest of us should speak like them or be out of date.

        OED seems to have bought into this. A shame really as I don't think it's healthy for the kids or for the adults to get things arse about face like this.Still some words do stick and I think "selfie" may be one of them.

      2. ChrisBedford

        Re: Wow

        Oxford Dictionary's desperation for mainstream acceptance into pop culture

        Wow that's a bit mean. OED has been accepting "pop culture" words for centuries - how else did a "lavatory" and "bathroom" become places to defecate. Just because this is the first you've heard of it doesn't give you the right to label them as "desperate".

  8. Maharg

    I was all like WTF! Selfies? but then I was all like Fit, and posted one of me twerking, YOLO!

  9. Anonymous IV


    The New Zealanders (at least) refer to a tow truck (operative) as a towie, little realising that this actually means The Only Way Is Essex...

    1. Tim Parker

      Re: Disambiguation

      "The New Zealanders (at least) refer to a tow truck (operative) as a towie, little realising that this actually means The Only Way Is Essex..."

      ..although there is a slight difference in pronunciation with towie (NZ) => 'toe-eee' and TOWIE => 'moronic tossers'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Disambiguation

        I hereby nominate this for the award of "Best post of the day".

  10. i like crisps

    Toying with an idea...

    Been thinking about asking the OED to substitute the word BLOCK and its

    definition, to the word GOOGLE.

    Eg#1: I live at the top of a tower google.

    Eg#2: John Terry googled Wayne Rooney and prevented him from scoring.

    Eg#3: I was googled at every turn...etc.

  11. Mike Brown

    i want

    the word "jamp" added to the dictionary. I cant see any reason why it isnt a word. It works perfectly well.

    1. Adrian Smart

      Re: i want

  12. DV Henkel-Wallace


    Sorry mate, I use relo for a relocation record (when dredging object files for linker or compiler bugs). For my cuzzies and sis and the like I say "rellie," as does everyone else around here. But you're right that the arvo comes by every day.

    Hmm, quick rummage and a bit of google-fu shows that Lester Haines was the Register hack who once thought we call a tarpaulin a "tarpo".

    I suggest The Register give him six months' transportation to Australia. He can spend a nice traditional chrissie on the beach with some sheilas and go back and tell the poms what's what. And miss a horrible UK winter.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge


      Actually, I was disappointed to find Aussies *didn't* call a tarpaulin a tarpo, or indeed a tarpie. Seemed like a massive oversight to me. The beach plan is sound - crack a few stubbies, etc...

  13. hi_robb


    Did a team choose this word, or did someone pick it their selfie?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    selfies are frickin OLD.

    my kids think "selfies" are NEW.

    Oh no they're not.

    I can remember an advert on TV featuring David Bailey taking a picture of himself, probably using an Olympus Trip 35mm camera way back in something like the early 1980s.

    I thought this was cool as a teenager in the early 80s (coz I thought it was new back then ) and would regularly take my own picture with my Canon Sureshot.

    I guess even I was wrong back then, about it being new, because I'm sure people must have taken self portraits before even I was born. Flash bang wallop what a picture ;)

    1. Mike Brown

      Re: selfies are frickin OLD.

      show them the sony erricson phones, from 15 years ago, that had a small mirror next to the camera, so you could see yourself taking selfies. that should blow there tiny minds!

    2. ChrisBedford

      Re: selfies are frickin OLD.

      I think you're a little confused there matie. Taking pictures of yourself is old, sure, but *calling* them a "selfie" has only been around for the last decade. Until then they were self-portraits.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @ChrisBedford (was: Re: selfies are frickin OLD.)

        As I posted elsewhere:

        "Whatever. Oxford is wrong. We were using the word "selfie" for self portraits taken with Polaroid's "Land" cameras, especially the SX-70, in the early 1970s. (San Francisco Bay Area.) I suspect searching the Usenet archives could turn up many cites for this term being in use on TehIntraWebTubes in the very early 1980s, but I can't be arsed to look. A late 1970s or earl 1980s CompuServe or TheSource photography forum archive would probably also turn up cites, if such an archive exists.

        "Kids these days think they invented everything ..."

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    When I first heard the word selfie, I thought it meant something else completely - more akin to an onanistic act.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: wank

      And yet you were still absolutely right - it is.

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