Oxford's Word of the Year Is an Emoji (Seriously!)

by Zach Seemayer 12:56 AM PST, November 17, 2015

The lexicographers at Oxford Dictionaries have chosen their Word of the Year, and it's likely going to vex some language snobs -- mostly due to the fact that it's not actually a word, in the traditional sense.

This year, the Word of the Year is actually a pictogram. Specifically, it's an emoji. Even more specifically, it's the "Face With Tears of Joy" emoji.

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Oxford Dictionaries announced the news on Monday, explaining that the iconic emoji was chosen "as the 'word' that best reflected the ethos, mood and preoccupations of 2015."

The dictionary wrote a (predictably) lengthy post outlining their decision, and explaining the history, merit and cultural significance of emoji. They also explained that the plural form can be emoji or emojis.

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"Emojis are no longer the preserve of texting teens -- instead, they have been embraced as a nuanced form of expression, and one which can cross language barriers," the organization contended.

While some sticklers might not appreciate the pictogram, it's hard to say that any of the runner-up words would have been better.

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The "Face With Tears of Joy" emoji -- which was chosen to represent emojis as a whole because it was "the most used emoji globally in 2015" -- beat out "Sharing Economy," "They," "On Fleek," "Ad Blocker," "Refugee," "Brexit," "Dark Web" and "Lumbersexual" for the honor of Word of the Year.

In 2014, Oxford Dictionaries chose "Vape" as their Word of the Year. It's up to all you dictionary fans to decide if "Face With Tears of Joy" is an improvement.

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