The Oxford English Dictionary (OED), with its wide range of word meanings and etymologies, has always been a treasure trove for word-lovers across the world. Today, it looks like the OED is trying to keep up with the changing times. For the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is not a word, but an emoji—the 'face with the tears of joy'.
Can't seem to identify which among those emojis you regularly paste into your text messages is this one? Well, it is the emoji with a laugh on its face and tears in its eyes.
As language continues to become truncated these days in our WhatsApp and Facebook chats, one can't but wonder what prompted the popular dictionary's language experts to pick the emoji. It is the first time ever that the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year is a pictograph.
A statement that appeared on the Oxford Dictionaries website said this 'word' was chosen because it best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015.
How was it chosen
This year, the Oxford University Press partnered with keyboard app company SwiftKey to explore usage statistics of emojis. SwiftKey identified the 'face with the tears of joy' emoji as the most used emoji globally in 2015.
Other strong contenders for the Word of the Year were ad blocker, Brexit, Dark Web, on fleek, lumbersexual, refugee, sharing economy, and they (used as singular pronoun). The emoji, however, took the cake. This historic decision by the Oxford Dictionaries is an acknowledgement of the popularity of these symbols in our daily lives.