Selfie: a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.
Selfie, in context, is fairly self-explanatory. I hadn't really heard the term until the news brought it to me in the context of Anthony Weiner's problems, and the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Rolling Stone cover. After that, I started hearing it everywhere. At least in the media. I don't think I've yet heard a friend use it aloud. And personally, I like this slightly more cynical version from Urban Dictionary:
A strange phenomenon in which the photographer is also the subject of the photograph, in a subversive twist on the traditional understanding of the photograph. Usually conducted because the subject cannot locate a suitable photographer to take the photo, like a friend.
But none of this is why I posted about this. I was interested in the uproar around the misapprehension that it had been included in the Oxford English Dictionary mentioned in a Slate article today. As the article writer, Forrest Wickman, points out, it made big stir across the internet, and many people thought it heralded the death of English as we know it.
I doubt Stephen Fry did.
In any case, claims of its death were a little premature. Oxford Dictionaries Online are not the same thing as the venerable OED. Both do come out of the Oxford University Press, but they serve different purposes. The ODO is around to catch up the current lingo. I guess you could say it is a gateway dictionary. The OED is the dictionary of historical record. I'm not sure how they decide what words make it, though that might be worth a post. At any rate, "selfie" isn't there yet.
I was going to post this last night, but it's funny--"selfie" just didn't seem to go very well with the fiftieth anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech. In fact, the two categories may belong to different universes entirely.