The emoji commonly known as ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ has been announced as Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year 2015.
Chosen by the Oxford team because it “captures the ethos, mood, and preoccupations” of the year and reflects "the sharp increase in popularity of emoji across the world in 2015," it beat other shortlisted words including Brexit, on fleek, lumbersexual and ad blocker to win the title.
“You can see how traditional alphabet scripts have been struggling to meet the rapid-fire, visually focused demands of 21st Century communication,” Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford Dictionaries, said. “It’s not surprising that a pictographic script like emoji has stepped in to fill those gaps—it’s flexible, immediate, and infuses tone beautifully. As a result emoji are becoming an increasingly rich form of communication, one that transcends linguistic borders. When Andy Murray tweeted out his wedding itinerary entirely in emoji, for example, he shared a subtle mix of his feelings about the day directly with fans around the world. It was highly effective in expressing his emotions.”
According to research carried out by Oxford University Press and mobile technology business, SwiftKey, the 'Face with Tears of Joy' comprised 20% of all emoji used in the UK in 2015, and 17% of all emoji used in the US.
Many have taken to social media to express their feelings about the announcement, with writer John Kerrison tweeting: “In further cultural nadir news, the Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year is the crying emoji. This makes me very frowny face.”
Publisher Serpent's Tail tweeted: "Oxford Dictionaries choose an emoji as their word of the year, provoking tears but not joy." MacLehose Press said: "If only there was a way of angrily yet succinctly expressing our views on this devastating news story – oh. #emoji"
Paul Bassett Davies, an actor and writer, tweeted: “Outrage over an emoji being Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is so funny. If only there were a convenient way to express this hilarity.”
OUP said it had no plans to add emoji to any Oxford Dictionaries.
Last year's word of the year was vape, in 2013 it was selfie and in 2012 it was omnishambles.