From twerking to selfie: five words that rocked 2013

  • Samarth Goyal, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Dec 28, 2013 18:44 IST
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2013 was a year of revelations. Revelations marked by cetain iconic words. And while Pope and Obama taking a photo of themselves from their cellphone made the term 'selfie' a household term, Miley’s outrageus performance at an award function gave birth to 'twerking'.

"We got to know of so many new terms this year, all thanks to social media. My friends and I have been using them so often," says Nikhil Kant, a copywriter with an ad agency.

We bring to you five popular oft-quoted words of 2013. Have you been using them too?

The term is defined as self portrait, usually taken by a hand-held digital camera. The word beat Twerking to be the most popular word of 2013, according to Oxford Dictionary. The popularity of the word hit the roof when newspapers world over went berserk over US President Barack Obama taking a selfie with the English and Denmark PMs during Nelson Mandela’s funeral service.

The second most popular word was Twerking — made infamous thanks to 21-year-old American pop star Miley Cyrus gyrating suggestively during the MTV music awards. The word essentially refers to up-and-down thrusting hip movements with a low, squatting stance. After Miley, singer Rihanna followed suit and Twerking hit its stardom!

According to varied online sources, the meaning of the term Swag ranges from being an acronym for ‘Secretly We Are Gay’ to referring to the style quotient of a person. While the former originated in the US with certain sections hinting at homosexual mannerism of a person, the latter is used to flaunt the cool personality of an individual. Usage: He drives in such a cool, swag way.

An acronym for You Only Live Once, Yolo is another word  that spread like wild fire among the young generation, this year. The word essentially encourages one to take risks in life and became popular after popular rapper Drake’s 2011 song The motto. Thanks to various Internet jokes and memes, the word also got to be used for risqué things such as driving in the wrong lane on a highway, climbing an escalator that moves  in the opposite direction or even, as the joke goes, attending a Justin Bieber concert!

Although an old word used to highlight a trending term or concept on social media, Hashtag was picked up by Facebook this year and since then, the word’s fame has only shot up. Even singer Justin Timberlake and comedian Jimmy Fallon made fun of the excessive usage of the word in a comedy show that was an instant hit. Err..we mean, #instanthi


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