The penultimate authority of the English language (Urban Dictionary will always be number one) has spoken! Let it be known henceforth that in this 2013th year in the Gregorian calendar, the global zeitgeist was encapsulated in the word "selfie." Pretty much exactly what one would expect a team of ivory tower lexicologists to come up with.
"Selfie," which was short-listed for Word of the Year last year but beat out by "hashtag," was up against some fierce competitors like "bitcoin," "404," "fail," and of course, breakout superstar "twerk." According to the Oxford Dictionaries blog, the decision was unanimous—it just made sense:
"...[O]ur Word of the Year need not be a new word. However, it does need to demonstrate some kind of prominence over the preceding year or so and selfie certainly fits the bill. It seems like everyone who is anyone has posted a selfie somewhere on the Internet. If it is good enough for the Obamas or The Pope, then it is good enough for Word of the Year."
Just goes to show that with some hard work, perseverance, and a culture of self-promotion and heavily edited image fixations, any word can make it to the top. One can only dream that one day, brother-words and sister-words like "YOLO," "lesbihonest," and maybe even "based (god)" can also gain that recognition.
On a more serious and grateful note, I think we can all heave a sigh of relief that the word of the year is not "twerk." But let's all thank Miley's tongue papillae for putting subculture on the board!
[LA Times, Oxford Dictionaries]
Image from AP