Word of the year 2015

As you might know, every year oxforddictionaries.com chooses the Word of the Year. In 2013 it was the word Selfie (also selfy, plural – selfies) – “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”.

The word of 2014 was Vape. It originated as an abbreviation of vapour or vaporize and means ‘to inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device’, while both the device and the action can also be known as a vape.

And for the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a pictograph: 😂, officially called the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji! An emoji is ‘a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication’; the term emoji is a loanword from Japanese, and comes from e ‘picture’ + moji ‘letter, character’.

This year Oxford University Press have partnered with leading mobile technology business SwiftKey to explore frequency and usage statistics for some of the most popular emoji across the world, and 😂 was chosen because it was the most used emoji globally in 2015. SwiftKey identified that 😂 made up 20% of all the emojis used in the UK in 2015, and 17% of those in the US.

Which words made the shortlist?


Which words have been selected as Word of the Year in recent years?

Year Oxford Dictionaries UK Word of the Year Oxford Dictionaries US Word of the Year
2004 chav
2005 sudoku  podcast
2006 bovvered  carbon-neutral
2007 carbon footprint locavore
2008 credit crunch  hypermiling
2009 simples  unfriend
2010 big society  refudiate
2011 squeezed middle
2012 omnishambles  GIF (verb)
2013 selfie
2014 vape
2015  😂 ‘emoji’ 


How well do you know emoji? Take a quiz to check your understanding!


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