Oxford Dictionaries finally announced its "Word of the Year" on Monday, but it is not what people are expecting. It is not a word; it's an emoji.
Oxford Dictionaries analyzed all the emojis, smileys, or icons that people commonly use to express ideas or emotions. There were a number of competitors for the spot but the "Face with Tears of Joy" emoji, or what Oxford formally identifies as a pictograph, best reflects "the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015," according to Oxford Dictionaries.
— Oxford Dictionaries (@OxfordWords) November 17, 2015
"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 added.
Emojis have been present since the 1990s and are now commonly used to convey thoughts without using unnecessary words during conversations online or even through text, according to USA Today.
Swiftkey recognized that about 20 percent of emoji used in the U.K. in 2015 was the "Face with Tears of Joy" while it comprised 17 percent of U.S. emoji usage.
"You can see how traditional alphabet scripts have been struggling to meet the rapid-fire, visually focused demands of 21st century communication," Oxford Dictionaries President Casper Grathwohl said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"It's not surprising that a pictographic script-like emoji has stepped in to fill those gaps - it's flexible, immediate and infuses tone beautifully," he added. "As a result, emoji are becoming an increasingly rich form of communication, one that transcends linguistic borders."
The Word of the Year for 2014 was "vape." Other words that almost made the cut for 2015 were "Ad blocker," "Dark Web," "lumbersexual," "on fleek," "refugee," "Brexit," and "sharing economy."