Oxford Dictionaries Reveals Its Word Of The Year Is… An Emoji!

You'll Never Guess What Oxford Dictionaries' Word Of The Year Is!

Emoji, Tears Of Joy

by Edwina Langley |
Published on

If you were to guess what Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year 2015 would be, chances are you'd never guess it. Why? Because it isn't a word. It's... an emoji.

For the first time in its history, Word of the Year has been awarded to a pictograph, an emoji of a face with tears of joy.

Why that particular character? Well, Oxford Dictionaries claim it's because ' □' 'best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015'. Having collaborated with SwiftKey, a mobile tech business, Oxford Dictionaries discovered that □ was the most used emoji in 2015, making up 20% of all emojis used in the UK , and 17% of those in the US.

The word 'emoji' itself has also gained increasing popularity this year. Invented in the 1990s, it has been used in the English language since 1997, but Oxford Dictionaries Corpus discovered its use more than tripled this year, in comparison to that of last.

Other contenders for Word of the Year were, as usual, actual words. The shortlist was as follows:

Sharing economy: An economic system in which assets or services are shared between private individuals, either free or for a fee, typically by means of the Internet

They (as a singular word): Used to refer to a person of unspecified sex

On fleek (adj): Extremely good, attractive, or stylish

Ad blocker: A piece of software designed to prevent advertisements from appearing on a web page

Refugee: A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster

Brexit: The potential or hypothetical departure of the United Kingdom from the EU

Dark Web: The part of the World Wide Web that is only accessible by means of special software, allowing users and website operators to remain anonymous or untraceable

Lumbersexual: A young urban man who cultivates an appearance and style of dress (typified by a beard and checked shirt) suggestive of a rugged outdoor lifestyle

Last year's Word of the Year was 'vape', with 'selfie' winning in 2013, and 'omnishambles' the year before that.

But whether you're for or against the controversial winner this year, there's clearly some fun to be had with it. Because if someone messages, asking:

"Did you know the Word of the Year isn't a word, but an emoji?!"

You should definitely respond: " □ □ □."

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