When Oxford Dictionaries picked a word to sum up the year 2015, they decided not to award it to a word exactly, but to an emoji. A bit of a shocker for the English language perhaps, but since 2013 saw ‘selfie’ win and last year’s award went to ‘vape’, it is perhaps not that big a surprise really that a silly emoji managed to scoop the top prize.
But just how did they decide which emoji won? Well, Oxford Dictionaries teamed up with a mobile tech business called SwiftKey who helped to determine that by far the most used emoji of the year was the laughing so hard you are crying face. Oh you know which one we mean.
The face actually made up 20% of the emojis that were used in the UK and 17% in the US, meaning that it was by far the most popular emoji. And since we know how popular emojis became in 2015, that really is saying something. The use of the word more than tripled during the year and we’ll bet your usage of the little guys went up by at least as much.
So the crying so hard you are laughing face managed to scoop the top prize, but just who did it beat?
Other contenders for the best word gong were ‘lumbersexual’ (a young urban man who cultivates an appearance and style of dress suggestive of a rugged and outdoor lifestyle) and ‘on fleek’ which means extremely good, stylish or attractive. Who knew?
Even if we are a little saddened by the fact that an emoji managed to win word of the year, at least we can be happy that it was an emoji representing uncontrollable laughter and happiness. Let’s hope there is just as much of it in 2016!
By Amy de Klerk