“Selfie” is the Word of the Year

This news just in: “Selfie” is the OED’s word of the year.

To celebrate, here’s a selfie of me, writing this blog.

Verbal Identity does Selfies.

Pictured: Furious Resting Face. The more serious cousin of Bitchy Resting Face.

(You can see why I don’t take many of these.)

Use of the word “selfie” has increased by over 17000%. Discerning readers will note that’s rather a lot. And you’ll notice that the runners up are all neologisms as well. Which might scare you.

New words are being accepted into general use more widely and more quickly. Yes, we can blame digital and social media, but these are words that would have become popular on their own.

“Selfie” isn’t word of the year because it’s new, it’s word of the year because it’s a word for a new concept that desperately needed a word. (Our linguistic analysis shows us that new words rarely oust old words.)  ‘Selfie’ would probably have made it big even without social media, it’s just that it would probably have taken three decades rather than one to achieve it. Who knows, however, whether our grandchildren will be taking selfies with as much enthusiasm as we are.

If you want to talk words, your brand’s verbal identity, or even the OED, email Chris. 

P.S. It seems like only yesterday when we had to reach for the Urban Dictionary to understand what someone meant when they posted ‘WTAF’ in response to something we’d written. We all readily accept new words into our vocabulary, and that’s one of the reasons why our own work on text analytics can’t rely on hand-built ‘dictionaries’ to understand what our client’s customers are saying. If you’re interested in this area, get in touch. Or send a selfie.