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Oxford Dictionaries word of the year is...not a word

Oxford Dictionary's Word of the Year: Emojis
Source: Oxford Dictionary.
Oxford Dictionary's Word of the Year: Emojis

Oxford Dictionaries revealed its "word of the year" for 2015 and it's not a word at all.

Instead, the publisher chose an emoji as the "'word' that best reflected the ethos, mood and preoccupations of 2015."

The pictograph called "face with tears and joy" beat out words like "ad blocker," "on fleek," "lumbersexual," "refugee," "sharing economy" and "they" for the title.

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The emoji was chosen by Oxford Dictionaries because it was the most used emoji in the world, according to SwiftKey, a mobile technology business. The pictograph made up 20 percent of all the emojis used in the United Kingdom and 17 percent in the United States.

"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," the publisher said in a statement.

Of course, the decision to name an emoji "word of the year" received criticism on social media — and that was probably the point.

In the frequently asked questions section of how the "word of the year" is chosen Oxford Dictionaries said "The final Word of the Year selection team is made up of lexicographers and consultants to the dictionary team, and editorial, marketing, and publicity staff."

Emphasis on the marketing and publicity staff, according to some Twitter users.

Oxford Dictionaries, which focuses on current English and includes modern meanings and uses of words, has chosen colloquial and fleeting verbiage in recent years including: hypermilling, squeezed middle and locavore. However, it has also picked words that are still very much a part of modern language — podcast, unfriend, GIF, selfie and vape.

Just because a word — or, in this case, image — is named the "word of the year" doesn't mean that it will be added to the Oxford English Dictionary. In fact, the publisher has no plans to add any emojis to its publications.