Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is not exactly a word, its an emoji

Oxford word of the year emoji

Oxford word of the year emoji

The Oxford Dictionary has been one of the known sources for definitions of words that are used in the English language. Languages are not static, they are dynamic and continuously evolve by adding new names and the English language is one of them.

Last year, the word of the year according to the Oxford University Press was vape, in 2013 it was selfie and going further back to 2005, it was Sudoku and podcast. This year, there has been a change in the force, where the word of the year is not a word, it’s an emoji. It’s not any just emoji, it is the one officially termed as the “Face with Tears of Joy,” yes this one . Albeit it is not a word, it was chosen because it “best reflected the ethos, mood and preoccupations of 2015”. What a time to be alive!

How were they able to determine all this? Well Oxford University Press partnered with the company behind the popular virtual keyboard app, SwiftKey so as to get insights of the most popular emojis that are used all over the world. They found out that:

  • The usage of the word emoji has tripled in 2015 when you compare with data recorded the previous year
  • The   emoji made up 20% of the emojis used in the UK and 17% in the US which is a rise from last year.

The decision to name  as the word of the year may seem not to be crazy at all if you consider sites like emojitracker.com. This site tracks all emojis used on Twitter and not surprising ? is at the top of the charts with hearts a close second (No wonder Twitter decided to replace stars with hearts).

Naturally there were other words that made the shortlist for the word of the year, including on fleek  was popularized thanks to a Vine posted last year, lumbersexual, dark web and ad blocker too. We are living in strange times where a symbol was actually chosen to be the word of the year amongst a list of actual words!


  1. […] Emojis, those tiny characters originating from Japan (but which, surprisingly, are no longer considered cool in the Far East trend-setting nation that also gave us Super Mario and Pikachu) that are now widely used to describe emotions, things and even the weather, are almost ubiquitous. So widely used are emojis that one of them even became the 2015 Oxford Dictionaries “word of the year”. […]

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