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Oxford word of the year is… an Emoji

by Todd Haselton | November 17, 2015

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Have Emoji jumped the shark? I think this shows they have. Oxford Dictionaries announced its 2015 word of the year on Tuesday and it’s not a word at all. Rather, it’s a symbol that represents a feeling. We could get philosophical here, about the importance of symbols in portraying a message, but this is borderline silly.

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“That’s right – for the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a pictograph: 😂, officially called the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji, though you may know it by other names,” Oxford Dictionaries said in a blog post. “😂 was chosen as the ‘word’ that best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015.” According to data cited from SwiftKey, the chosen Emoji was the most popular among typists in the UK and the United States.

While I think it’s a bit odd, there’s some validity to the decision to pick an Emoji. After all, symbols were the first form of written communication, and Emoji might even be considered the modern day hieroglyph. They’re capable of portraying a feeling or a status without the need for writing. But, on the other hand, I’d argue it’s not quite a word and more of a picture. We’ll let the linguists fight it out from here.

Other words that almost made the cut include “sharing economy,” “they” when used for identifying a person of unspecified sex, “on fleek,” “ad blocker, ” “refugee,” “Brexit,” “Dark web,”” and “lumbersexual.” Hit the source to read more about the chosen emoji and the other candidates.


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Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...


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