The Selfie Variations


It was the Oxford Dictionaries’ 2013 Word of the Year and has shown no signs of slowing down: the selfie.

The term selfie was apparently invented by an Australian man who took a drunk self-portrait (a drelfie, if you will). There’s no lack of other selfie types: the funeral selfie; the plane crash selfie; the (borderline-inappropriate) survived-a-knife-attack selfie; and the always amusing animal selfie.

Here we take a closer look at nine more selfie variations.


“Dubbed the Queen of the Belfie (also known as butt-selfie), Selter (and her behind) have become huge.”

“#Belfie Queen Goes High-Fashion,” The Daily Beast, March 13, 2014

We tried to avoid the belfie (a butt selfie, natch) for as long as possible, but now we know entirely too much about it.

According to The Daily Dot, the first ever belfie was taken on July 18, 2012. Jen Selter, a “fitness guru” (whose belfies make our backs hurt) is apparently the Queen of the Belfie, giving another celebrity belfie-enthusiast a run for her money.


“[Drones] go where we want them to go, so of course they should be taking short videos of where we are and what we’re up to. It’s not a selfie. It’s a dronie (not to be confused with ‘drony’).”

Lily Hay Newman, “If You Thought Selfies Were Bad You’re Gonna Really Hate Dronies,” Slate, April 25, 2014

Vimeo employee Alex Dao coined the term dronie in response to a video posted Amit Gupta, co-founder of Photojojo.

Photojojo, a photo newsletter, has instructions for making your own dronie, says Nancy Friedman, and “in mid-May will offer in-person dronie lessons and rental drone cameras.”

Photo via Modern Farmer


“[William Wilson, a farmer’s son] started, which helped create the hashtag ‘felfie’ to corral agricultural self-portraits from around the world.”

Sam Brasch, “Express Your #Felf: Farmer Selfies Go Viral,” Modern Farmer, January 15, 2014

The felfie began as way to put a face to farming, says Modern Farmer, and to sell to the “locavore crowd” without costly ad campaigns. No surprise that they’re still be going strong — who doesn’t love pictures of affectionate farm animals?

[Photo via Modern Farmer]


“Comedian Jamie Lee recently told Cosmo that a ‘helfie’ is a selfie, but focused more prominently on your hair.”

Carly Cardellino, “Helfies: An Important New Subgenre of Selfie,” Cosmopolitan, August 27, 2013

A variation of the helfie is the beardie, a beard selfie. Better take one before beards go extinct.


“In 2014, the selfie is going to the next level, especially if Max Factor has anything to say about it. Ladies and gentlemen, we’d like to introduce you to the ‘selfeye.’”

Kristin Booker, “2014’s Newest Selfie Craze: The Selfeye,” Refinery29, January 2, 2014

We first heard about the selfeye from our own Erin McKean, who described it as “a selfie showing off one’s eye makeup.”

Selfeye is an eye rhyme (fittingly) for selfie, that is a rhyme by sight rather sound, and coined by cosmetics line Max Factor.


“Given that the objects are often arrayed on a shelf or the equivalent (a windowsill, a desk), you might even call the images ‘#shelfies.’ Some Instagrammers already do, though more typically when they’ve snapped bookcases.”

Dale Hrabi, “The Rise of the ‘Shelfie’: Instagram’s Next Craze,” Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2014

Not surprisingly, the shelfie is our favorite type of selfie. Back in December, The Guardian asked its readers to submit their own, and we were so delighted by the photos of beautiful bookshelves, we had to share our own:

Wordnik shelfie :)


Selena: “Oh you wanna do a selfie?” [Poses with photographer.] “I call that an ussie.”

“Clovis,” Veep, April 27, 2014

The first we heard of this term was on the most recent (and very funny) episode of Veep, but apparently it’s been around since at least last April.

Perhaps the most famous ussie is the one that broke Twitter during the Oscars.


“As if to prove the notion that what it means to be body beautiful today is a question of strength, the likes of Miranda Kerr, Doutzen Kroes and Gisele, have taken to Instagram to expose their own strenuous workout regimes via a series of selfies, which we have christened – naturally – #welfies.”

Stephanie Forrester, “You’ve Heard of the Selfie. Now Meet the Welfie,” Never Underdressed, October 22, 2013

“Workout selfie” is just one definition of welfie. Urban Dictionary says it also refers to someone “wealthy in selfies” while this conversation on Stack Exchange suggests welfie is a pejorative term for someone on welfare.


Tom: “Mind if I snap a youie? It’s what I call selfies of other people.”

“Moving Up,” Parks and Recreation, April 24, 2014

A youie, or a “selfie of another person,” could be classified as a retronym, a word created because “an existing term that was once used alone needs to be distinguished from a term referring to a new development.” Another example of a retronym is a 2D film versus 3D. For even more retronyms, check out this list.

And if you want even more on selfies, here’s this Selfie collection at Reverb.

[Photo: “Selfie with Smiley,” via Flickr, CC BY 2.0 by “Light Painting,” CC BY 2.0]