Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is an emoji

Published: November 19, 2015
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This year, for the first time ever, Oxford Dictionaries chose a pictograph as its Word of The Year. PHOTO: OXFORDWORDBLOG

This year, for the first time ever, Oxford Dictionaries chose a pictograph as its Word of The Year. PHOTO: OXFORDWORDBLOG

Annoyed at your friend? Use the angry emoji. Missing your family? Sad emoji. Stubbed your toe? Crying emoji.

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Yes, our world revolves around emojis, because they best describe how we feel without having to type letters on our screens. This year, for the first time ever, Oxford Dictionaries chose a pictograph as its Word of the Year.

And it’s the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji.

But why an emoji?

Having been around since the 90s, emojis didn’t become popular till 2015. So, Oxford University Press partnered with leading mobile technology business SwiftKey to explore the frequency and usage statistics for some of the most popular emojis across the globe.

“The Face with Tears of Joy emoji made up 20% of all the emojis used in the UK in 2015, and 17% of those in the US: a sharp rise from 4% and 9% respectively in 2014,” states OxfordWords Blog.

PHOTO: OXFORDWORDBLOG

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Does an emoji qualify as a word?

“You can see how traditional alphabet scripts have been struggling to meet the rapid-fire, visually focused demands of 21st century communication,” Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Dictionaries, told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s not surprising that a pictographic script like emoji has stepped in to fill those gaps—it’s flexible, immediate, and infuses tone beautifully.”

Many didn’t take the news so well:

Other words and expressions that made the 2015 Word of the Year shortlist are: Ad blocker, Dark Web, lumbersexual, on fleek, refugee, Brexit, and sharing economy.

Last year’s Word of the Year was ‘vape’. 2012’s US Word of the Year was ‘GIF’ and 2013’s Word of the Year was ‘selfie’.

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