Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015: An emoji pictograph

Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015: An emoji pictograph
For the first time ever, Oxford Dictionaries staff name the popular 'face with tears of joy' pictograph as 'word' of the year for 2015

MANILA, Philippines – Emojis have defined the way we interact online – breaking communication barriers. Its popularity is so evident that the Oxford Dictionaries named, for the first time ever, a pictograph as its “Word of the Year” for 2015.

The Oxford University Press (OUP) announced on Monday, November 16, that it chose the popular pictograph officially called “Face with Tears of Joy” as its “word” for 2015 because it best reflected “the ethos, mood, and preoccupations” of the past year. (READ: The Emoji Challenge: Can you guess these titles?)

Found to have been part of the English language since 1997, data from the Oxford Dictionaries Corpus said the frequency of use of the word “emoji” itself tripled in 2015.

For 2015, OUP partnered with mobile application SwiftKey to mine statistics related to the usage of the world’s most popular emojis.  

The smart keyboard mobile application found out that in 2015, the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji comprised 20% and 17% of all emojis used in the United Kingdom and United States, respectively. The latest usage statistics of the pictograph rose by 16 points in the UK and 6 points in the US compared to statistics in 2014. 

The first-ever pictograph chosen as Word of the Year won over other strong contenders. The shortlist included the following, as defined by the Oxford Dictionaries

  • 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
  • Fleek, adjectival phrase: (chiefly in the phrase “on fleek”) Meaning 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 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

In 2014, vape was chosen as the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year. It refers to electronic cigarettes or the act of inhaling and exhaling the vapor the device produces. (READ: Are you as annoyed by the word ‘vape’ as these netizens?– Rappler.com

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