Oxford Dictionaries has chosen its word of the year–if you can call it that–and it’s a doozy. The wildly popular emoji, dubbed “face with tears of joy,” is the first emoji to be named “Word of the Year” by the influential dictionary publisher.
“Emojis are no longer the preserve of texting teens–instead, they have been embraced as a nuanced form of expression, and one which can cross language barriers,” Oxford Dictionaries explained in a blog post. “Even Hillary Clinton solicited feedback in the form of emojis, and has had notable use from celebrities and brands alongside everyone else–and even appeared as the caption to the Vine, which apparently kicked off the popularity of the term ‘on fleek,’ which appears on our WOTY shortlist.”
Yes, “on fleek” made the shortlist for the “Word of the Year” title; other contenders included “ad blocker,” “lumbersexual,” and “refugee.” But the vaunted emoji won out in the end, due in part to the sheer upswing in emoji chatter this year, the blog post claimed.
This being 2015, Oxford Dictionaries also published a video to accompany its announcement:
Oxford Dictionaries is a free, less extensive version of the better-known and more traditional Oxford English Dictionary. Its publisher, Oxford University Press, is working to revamp the eminent dictionary, in an effort to attract digital-first users.