Face It: Selfie Vocab

Let's face it. Long before smart phones and social media, people have been preoccupied with the way they look. Here are some words that go way back, but are just as useful in today's selfie-obsessed world.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. aggrandize
    embellish; increase the scope, power, or importance of
    It is possible the malestrom of self-aggrandizing, success-celebrating posts on social media sites creates a grass-is-greener mindset, which positions consumers to fiendishly pursue far more goals, and far more difficult goals, than is possible.Salon (Jun 3, 2018)
  2. altered
    changed in form or character without becoming something else
    What I find most alarming is that it is hard to tell the difference between the altered and unaltered pictures.The New Yorker (Jun 7, 2018)
  3. approval
    a feeling of liking something or someone good
    But whatever it is motivating a humble object to seek approval from humans scrolling on their phones, it's spreading.Salon (Jan 14, 2019)
  4. countenance
    the appearance conveyed by a person's face
    His hood fell away from his face, revealing his startled and scowling, countenance.The Shakespeare Stealer
    While talking about someone’s visage is a fancy way of referring to their face, countenance is a little different — it’s face plus mood. If your countenance fills me with terror, you’re making a scary face. If your countenance makes me laugh, you're making a goofy face. A mysterious countenance is ambiguous and hard to read. Someone’s countenance shows their feelings and their demeanor.
  5. egomaniac
    a person who is abnormally self-absorbed and self-centered
    Personalised plates are regularly used in films and television series to hint that a character is a braggart or an egomaniac or just a bit desperate for attention.BBC (May 5, 2013)
    Egomaniacs are egotistical — they are egotists. An egomaniac has an overinflated self-opinion. The ego is one of the three parts of the personality defined by Sigmund Freud, and it’s the one that is your sense of self. Being selfish isn’t always a bad thing of course, but the ego (and egomania) have a negative, self-obsessed reputation.
  6. facade
    a showy misrepresentation to conceal something unpleasant
    If she looks calm, “it’s a facade,” acknowledged the star when faced with the expectations before the historic launch.Washington Times (May 23, 2019)
  7. flawless
    without a weakness or defect
    The 27-year-old singer also went makeup free, showing off her flawless face.Fox News (Apr 18, 2019)
  8. image
    a personal facade that one presents to the world
    Zendaya is breaking away from her Disney image in a major way.Fox News (Jun 14, 2019)
  9. narcissistic
    having an inflated idea of one's own importance
    The research follows up on years of studies that suggest younger generations are more narcissistic than previous ones.Salon (May 15, 2019)
    Since the early 1900s, people have been described as narcissistic — which takes egotism and raises it to the power of obsession. The origin of the term lies with the Greek myth about Narcissus, who fell so in love with his own reflection that he committed suicide because he could not marry himself. Not only do narcissists love themselves way too much, they don’t give a crumb about other people.
  10. pompous
    puffed up with vanity
    In sports such swagger is interpreted as pompous – especially when delivered with a Cascadian twang.The Guardian (Dec 2, 2015)
    A pompous person is full of themselves, not necessarily in terms of their appearance, but their importance. If you want to see some pompous stuff, look at any country that still has royalty. Kings, queens, dukes, lords, and the rest are about as pompous as it gets, and a palace is the most pompous home of all, practically screaming “I’m important!” Related words are the nouns pomposity, pompousness, and the concise pomp.
  11. portrait
    any likeness of a person, in any medium
    A painter, Gift Davis, created a portrait of Hussle surrounded by clouds in acrylics on a canvas on the sidewalk, as a crowd gathered and snapped photos.Seattle Times (Apr 11, 2019)
  12. pose
    a bearing assumed by models for artistic purposes
    Then she cajoles her brother into posing for a picture.Washington Post (Jun 10, 2019)
  13. preen
    dress or groom with elaborate care
    He is preening as he shows off his fancy vest to a young lady.Washington Times (Feb 10, 2018)
    This word, around since the late 1300s, applies to people and birds. In both cases, preening is an attempt to look your best. A bird preens by cleaning and smoothing its feathers. A person preens by obsessively fixing their hair or clothes. A preening person, fittingly, is sometimes called a peacock.
  14. primp
    dress or groom with elaborate care
    It didn’t only show famous people as they wanted to be seen, in photo shoots or primped and ready on a red carpet—it showed them pumping gas in Uggs and no makeup.Slate (Dec 3, 2018)
    When primping, you preen, you straighten, you adjust, you readjust, and you keep working on your appearance until you achieve perfection (or your hands get tired). Primping has a connotation of vanity, which makes it fit right in with these other words. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with looking your best. Just don’t primp so much you strain your primping muscle.
  15. publicity
    a message issued in behalf of some product or cause or idea
    In any case, there is not much use in getting outraged, considering that all publicity is good publicity for the Kardashian-Jenner clan.The Guardian (Jun 11, 2019)
  16. shallow
    lacking depth of intellect or knowledge
    I think it’s a shallow thing — like a vanity thing.”Los Angeles Times (Apr 13, 2019)
  17. superficial
    of little substance or significance
    The “Baywatch” star took to Twitter to slam reality TV, branding it an “epidemic of ugliness” created by “ superficial competitions” despite appearing on several shows throughout her career.Fox News (Mar 25, 2019)
  18. vainglorious
    feeling self-importance
    The vainglorious, the self-centered, the garrulous will always talk of themselves freely.Baker, George Pierce
    This word practically defines itself. The vain are preening folks obsessively concerned with their appearance. The vainglorious are the same, but with a heightened element of self-love: vainglorious people bask in their own glory. Vainglorious has been turning up in English since the 1500s. This word is a compound, much like recent coinages such as humblebrag and deepfake.
  19. vanity
    feelings of excessive pride
    Self-confidence is a good thing, and vanity is basically a visa you need to enter showbiz.New York Times (Apr 5, 2019)
  20. visage
    the human face
    However, interviews and access to the singer’s visage were limited as she wanted to keep the focus on the music and not what she looks like or dishing on her personal life.Los Angeles Times (Dec 16, 2018)
    Narcissists love to look at their own visage, which could be the name of some weird organ near the spleen, but is actually something much more accessible: the face. This word — which has the ring of poetry, but don’t hold that against it — has appeared in English since the 1300s.

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