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 a former Melville House editor.