Duckface to Smize: A glossary of selfie terminology

Published on Aug 17, 2019 07:21 PM IST

Do you know how to squinch, and have you ever taken a shelfie?

Leonardo Di Caprio takes a selfie with a fan at the Berlin Film Festival in 2010.(Wikimedia Commons)
Leonardo Di Caprio takes a selfie with a fan at the Berlin Film Festival in 2010.(Wikimedia Commons)
Hindustan Times | By

Don’t blame America for everything. The term ‘selfie’ comes from Down Under, where adding -ie to a short-form is common: barbie for barbecue, Aussie for Australian. The word has been in use since the 2000s and became Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year in 2013. It’s also spawned its own lexicon.

Suglie: An ugly-face selfie. Basically your first 20 attempts.

Belfie: Created from the words butt and selfie. It’s not exactly a shot of your behind, but any selfie in which you’ve turned your rear towards the camera. Best executed as a mirror image. Learn from Kim Kardashian. There’s also the snelfie – the sneezing selfie. Avoid.

Birthie: A selfie with your newborn baby. You’re expected to look tired, relieved, blessed, proud and cherished. Use all those terms in the hashtags.

Smize: Smile with your eyes! Made popular by the former supermodel Tyra Banks in the late 2000s, when she was hosting the TV reality contest, America’s Next Top Model. How to smize? Grin, but open up your eyes, loosening up your face muscles so you’re sexy, not scary.

Squinch: A pose that’s somewhere between a squint and a pinch. Think of it as a shortcut to looking cute, confident and natural in informal shots. It’s less deer-in-headlights, more caught-in-a-chill-moment. Squint your eyes a bit (like you’re wondering), purse your lips a bit. You’ve got it.

Shelfie: A picture of your shelf — artfully arranged vanity cabinet, top-shot of book nook, Louboutin collection, Marie-Kondo-inspired minimalism, the fridge of conspicuous consumption… whatever things are your thing.

Flashback: The thing to avoid when taking a selfie. Flashback occurs when your make-up, seemingly natural in regular light, gives your face a ghostly white cast in flash or low-light photos.

#FoundMyLight: The internet is full of shallow wisdom. Finding your light has nothing to do with seeking a way out or a moment of epiphany. It simply means you angled your face into the selfie camera in a way that let the lighting do the rest.

Usie: What the Associated Press calls a group selfie. Ugh.

Duckface: This one you know — not quite a pout, this is when you’re staring into the camera, imitating Daffy Duck in an effort to highlight your cheekbones. A related birdy pose: the sparrow face, wide-eyed innocent looks beloved of Asian bloggers. Another animal-inspired pose: the guppy, slightly parted lips to soften your look.


    Rachel Lopez is a a writer and editor with the Hindustan Times. She has worked with the Times Group, Time Out and Vogue and has a special interest in city history, culture, etymology and internet and society.

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