Get ready to feel old, or confused, or crotchety, or any number of the things people are expressing about Oxford Dictionaries’ new word of the year — it’s an emoji. Not the word ‘emoji,’ but rather an emoji, a pictograph that is not, in the strictest sense, a word. Linguists have waxed poetically about the interesting twist emoji brings to language, and Oxford’s newest selection only serves to underscore that unique evolution.
According to Oxford Dictionaries, the use of emoji increased greatly during 2015, with Oxford University Press confirming that through a partnership with Swift Key. Based on data from the company, 😂 was the most popular emoji across the globe this year, comprising, for example, 20-percent of all the emoji sent in the United Kingdom (this year, that is). In the US, the number was slightly lower at 17-percent.
In addition, the very use of the word ‘emoji’ increased this year, tripling over the course of this year relatively to 2014. As such, Oxford says it chose 😂 as the word of the year because it “best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015.” It had a lot of competition, however, as emoji use in general has been on the upswing, working their way into work communications, political spiels, business marketing, and more.
Of course, the emoji had words to contend with, too, with many bringing ample popularity this year. Counted among the shortlist contenders is “sharing economy”, “they” in references to someone “of unspecified sex,” “on fleek,” “ad blocker,” “dark web,” and more.
SOURCE: Oxford Dictionaries Blog