The next time your parents ask you to explain (again) what a “selfie” is, give them this definition:
selfie, n. (informal): a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.
That’s a selfie, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, which added the popular term to its database this week. Along with it, phablet, hackerspace, emoji, and TL;DR to name a few. Tech-speak that has gained notoriety from widespread use on social media over the last few years.
Some of these words may sound unfamilar to the untrained eye. A phablet is a phone so large that it’s almost a tablet, TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) refers to a story that was so long you didn’t read it. Hackerspace? A place where people with mutual interest in technology can join up and share ideas. Emojis, those little cartoon icons people text with, are so integrated into our virtual lives they’re showing up in music videos.
“Srsly” has also made its way to the list of official words, an abbreviation of “seriously.” With a 140-character-limit on Twitter, removing the vowels has often been common practice for users. Twerk, or shaking your butt to music, has also been crowned as an official word.
In 2012, sexting, mash-up, and game changer were added to the Oxford English dictionary too. In 2010, we couldn’t believe the addition of microblogging, tweetup, and hater; words we still hear on the regular.
For those who aren’t thrilled about the new words on the block, it’s too soon to tell if their place in the dictionary means ubiquitous usage for years to come. After all, 2009 welcomed the word “meatspace“.