Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year is making people cry emoji

17 Nov 2015

An online dictionary called Oxford Dictionaries – not associated with the Oxford English Dictionary – is trolling wordsmiths hard with the news that its word of the year is actually the ‘crying with laughter’ emoji.

While we can’t imagine the Oxford English Dictionary crowd will be too happy with the suggestion, this other catalogue of English words is quick to explain that its importance and use in 2015 was culturally significant.

Known officially as the ‘face with tears of joy’ emoji, the little crying face has apparently gone the way of ‘lol’ or ‘haha’ as almost a suffix to conversations on online messaging services.

Having signed a deal with the mobile keyboard provider SwiftKey, the online dictionary saw that the cry emoji comprised 20pc of all emojis used in the UK in 2015 so far and 17pc in the US.

In comparison, SwiftKey said that the 2014 figures for the UK and US were significantly lower at 4pc and 9pc, respectively.

Oxford Dictionaries and SwiftKey also noticed that even the use of the word ‘emoji’ has increased significantly in 2015, with it now being used three times as much as in 2015.

Other actual words missed out on the top gong

Explaining their decision, Oxford Dictionaries said: “There were other strong contenders from a range of fields, outlined below, but ‘cry emoji’ was chosen as the ‘word’ that best reflected the ethos, mood and preoccupations of 2015. “

It goess on to say that emojis, in general, have broken the niche teenage barrier, being used by prominent older figures like candidate for the US Democratic presidential nomination Hillary Clinton, who asked her followers to tweet their opinions purely in emojis.

Twitter also appears to be working on rolling out a range of emoji reactions to tweets, rather than the ‘like’ heart that it has only recently introduced.

As for the words that didn’t make it, it turns out that they were, in fact, words with letters.

Among the ones to miss out were dark web, sharing economy, refugee and adblocker.

There were even more bizarre potential candidates, including lumbersexual, brexit and on fleek, all of which are unlikely to make the formal dictionaries any time soon.

Person replicating cry emoji image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic