The Only Thing Sadder Than the 2013 Word of the Year Is the Runner-Up

conan o'brien ricky gervaisThis news makes me so, so heartbroken. Apparently "selfie" is 2013's word of the year, according to the publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary, beating out "twerk," the runner-up, "schmeat," and "bitcoin." Yes, this year, the words vying for this oh so coveted title were "selfie" and "twerk." How much more terrifying can it get?

"It seems like everyone who is anyone has posted a selfie somewhere on the Internet," Oxford Dictionaries said on its blog. "If it is good enough for the Obamas or the pope, then it is good enough for Word of the Year."

As a self-proclaimed word nerd, this truly hurts the inner workings of my soul. I can't think of an exercise in vanity and egomania more annoying or frustrating than the selfie. OED claims the use of the selfie has risen 17,000 percent in frequency over the past 12 months. One cursory glance through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever, and you can see how this is most definitely the case.


The word "selfie" managed to worm its way into Oxford Dictionaries' online version three months ago. But believe it or not, the term was first seen in Australia back in 2002. A self-portrait was taken after a drunken accident on some steps, and the photo was put up in a chat room. The post read: "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."

On record, the first ever selfie was of someone who got wasted and put a hole through his or her bottom lip. Sounds rather appropriate, especially given how perverted and scary the whole selfie thing has quickly become.

The fact that a publication as illustrious and well-respected as the Oxford English Dictionary is providing commentary on the phenomenon that brought about the duck face and self-portraits taken in front of bathroom mirrors certainly says a lot about the narcissistic, self-obsessed, technology-driven society in which we now live. Granted, some are pretty awesome, while others (most) are just plain embarrassing.

Horrifyingly, the word "selfie" has also brought about "helfie," which is a photo your hair; "belfie," which is what your back happens to look like; and perhaps the most cringe-worthy of all, a "welfie," which you take while you're working out.

Help. Me.

Perhaps this news will help inspire you to stop angling your face 10,000 different ways in front of your phone in just the right lighting and to step away from social media. Keep in mind that whatever you post on the Internet will live there forever, and once this selfie craze (hopefully, pray to god) subsides, well, those old photos could be pretty embarrassing. Remember and embrace the productive and healthy things we used to do to preoccupy our time before the invention of the smartphone and the selfie, you know, like watching TV.

What do you think about "selfie" being the Word of the Year? You just put up a heavily filtered selfie on Instagram, didn't you?


Image via rickygervais/Twitter

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