Love them or hate them, those little Japanese emoticons known as “emoji” are here to stay. At least for now. They’re so popular, Oxford Dictionaries decided to make one of them their word of the year. The lucky winner turns out to be the “tears of joy” face, which Oxford believes to be “the ‘word’ that best reflected the ethos, mood, and pre-occupations of 2015.”
That’s right—”?” is the expression that best defines 2015. Let that sink in for a few moments.
Okay, has it sunk in? Good. Let’s talk details.
Oxford Dictionary is, as you may have guessed, a dictionary publisher. But don’t expect emojis to find their way into dictionaries for real. We haven’t quite gotten to that point yet. But Oxford does believe, perhaps with their tongues planted firmly against their cheeks, that the “tears of joy” emoji has been used enough this year to justify its decision.
Oxford partnered with a mobile technology firm to examine emoji usage rates. Together, they determined that “?” was the most frequently used emoji by a wide margin.
It looks like everybody at Oxford is on board with the decision:
— Oxford Languages (@OxLanguages) November 17, 2015
Not wanting the award to be a cheat to interested linguists, they also released this shortlist of the year’s other contenders.
— Oxford Languages (@OxLanguages) November 16, 2015
Some great choices in there. It’s about time “on fleek” and “lumbersexual” get recognized by the linguistic community as valid expressions. Right?
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