The Word “Selfie” Official in the Oxford Dictionary

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The word “selfie” has made it into the Oxford Dictionary. Yes, selfie (or “selfy”) is now officially a word. Not only that, but of all the words that made it into the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) this year, selfie is the word of the year!

bathroom selfie
The Dreaded Bathroom Selfie

According to conventional wisdom, ‘selfie’ was first used in September of 2002, in an Australian chat room.


That chat room conversation included the following immortal words, referring to the self-taken picture that accompanied them:

“Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer (sic) 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.”

Elegant the origins aren’t, but then, neither is the word itself. And rarely is the object it describes.

In fact, one of the most infamous selfies of all times is the one that Representative Anthony Weiner tweeted of his nether parts , followed closely by the selfie sent by NY legislator Chris Lee to a woman on Craiglist.

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The Word “Selfie” Official in the Oxford Dictionary
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new york representative chris lee selfie
Rep. Chris Lee Selfie

Said the OED in a statement, “Language research conducted by Oxford Dictionaries editors reveals that the frequency of the word selfie in the English language has increased by 17,000% since this time last year.”

The official Oxford definition of a selfie is as follows:

Syllabification: (sel·fie)
Pronunciation: /?self?/
(also selfy)

noun (plural selfies)


a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website:
occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself everyday isn’t necessary

Origin: early 21st century: from self + -ie

We especially like the explanation of the origin – “from self + -ie”. Classic.


To see it in context, check out the Oxford Dictionary entry for ‘selfie’

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The Word “Selfie” Official in the Oxford Dictionary

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