November 18, 2015
The 2015 Word of the Year is … not a word
by Taylor Sperry
In its perhaps most reflexive Word of the Year selection, Oxford Dictionaries has chosen the laugh/cry (or “Face with Tears of Joy”) emoji to represent 2015. It is, indeed, kind of funny and kind of sad. (Or, as Jezebel’s Hillary Crosley Coker commented: “Congrats, humanity: We’ve truly outdone ourselves.”)
According to Oxford Dictionaries, use of both emojis and the word emoji have “increased hugely” in 2015. In a study of emoji use across the globe, “Face with Tears of Joy” was by far the most popular. This particular emoji “made up 20% of all the emojis used in the UK in 2015, and 17% of those in the US: a sharp rise from 4% and 9% respectively in 2014.” As of the writing of this post, Emojipedia lists the following as most popular:
Other finalists for the 2015 Word of the Year included: “ad blocker,” “on fleek,” and “lumbersexual,” which might be an unfamiliar term but is certainly not an unfamiliar phenomenon—a “lumbersexual” is defined as: “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.”
In 2014, the word was “Vape.” The year before that it was “Selfie.” At least this year it’s not “Pile of Poo” emoji.
Taylor Sperry is an editor at Melville House.