Oxford Dictionaries has announced its Word of the Year — and it’s an emoji.
“Face with Tears of Joy” emoji has been selected by the dictionary company as the “word” that “best reflected, the ethos, mood and preoccupations of 2015.”
The crying-with-laughter emoji beat out a number of other topical words and phrases for the top spot, including “ad blocker,” “on fleek,” “lumbersexual,” and “sharing economy.”
Oxford Dictionaries reasons that emojis aren’t new — but their use has dramatically increased this year.
In a statement, Oxford Dictionaries President Casper Grathwohl said (via The Wall Street Journal): “You can see how traditional alphabet scripts have been struggling to meet the rapid-fire, visually focused demands of 21st century communication … 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. As a result emoji are becoming an increasingly rich form of communication, one that transcends linguistic borders.”
Here’s a graph showing increased emoji usage throughout 2015:
Oxford Dictionaries also put together this pretty cringeworthy video about their selection:
Other words that made the shortlist included (definitions theirs):
- ad blocker, noun: A piece of software designed to prevent advertisements from appearing on a web page.
- Brexit, noun: A term for the potential or hypothetical departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, from British + exit.
- Dark Web, noun: 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.
- on fleek, adjectival phrase: Extremely good, attractive, or stylish.
- lumbersexual, noun: A young urban man who cultivates an appearance and style of dress (typified by a beard and check shirt) suggestive of a rugged outdoor lifestyle.
- refugee noun: A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.
- sharing economy, noun: An economic system in which assets or services are shared between private individuals, either for free or for a fee, typically by means of the Internet.
- they (singular), pronoun: Used to refer to a person of unspecified sex.
Previous winners include:
- 2012 — GIF
- 2013 — Selfie
- 2014 — Vape
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