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We all know that life without emojis, (the small digital icons that we use ad nauseam) would be extremely boring. Hence, it is only fitting that the editors of the prestigious Oxford English Dictionary chose - The emoji with the tears of joy as its 'Word of the Year' for 2015.
The company that announced its unusual word choice on November 16th said that it was picked over several other traditional contenders. Among them were 'refugee', 'sharing economy' and 'on fleek'. However, it was this simple emoji that resonated with the editors because it appeared to best describe the "ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015."
They also thought that this was a good year to pay homage to the emoji. For though they have been around since the late 1990's, the use of the digital icons and the word that describes them, has escalated sharply this year. Besides, emojis are now used by people of all ages, not just teenagers.
Also, though the word stems from the Japanese language - e (picture), moji (character or letter), the digital icons can be understood by everyone regardless of the language they speak. Hence it only makes sense to acknowledge their importance to global communication.
As to how they selected from the thousands of emojis that are available? The company says that they partnered with a leading mobile technology company SwiftKey to determine the most popular emoji. Turns out that 'tears of joy' is the most used icon. According to SwiftKey, made up 17% of all emojis used in the U.S. A and an astounding 20% in the United Kingdom!
Though this is the first time the Oxford University Press has selected an image for its 'word of the year', it is not the first time they have tried to incorporate modern lingo into their 150-year-old publication. In 2013, in recognition of the growing popularity of self-portraits, the editors selected 'selfie,' for the 'Word of the Year'!