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'Face with tears of joy' emoji named word of the year

By
Shawn Price
For the first time, Oxford University Press has named a non-word the Word of the Year. Crying tears of joy emoji was named the 2015 Word of the Year by the dictionary maker. Photo by Yayayoyo/Shutterstock
For the first time, Oxford University Press has named a non-word the Word of the Year. "Crying tears of joy" emoji was named the 2015 Word of the Year by the dictionary maker. Photo by Yayayoyo/Shutterstock

NEW YORK, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Oxford Dictionaries has named the 2015 Word of the Year, and the winner isn't actually a word. It's an emoji.

"Face with tears of joy" emoji was named the 2015 Word of the Year by the dictionary maker, and it's the first time the winner has not actually been a word.

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In fact, the emoji -- also considered a pictograph -- goes by many names, but for the sake of the award, it was "the 'word' that best reflected the ethos, mood and preoccupations of 2015," the dictionary maker said on its site.

Emojis have been in use since the 1990s, but 2015 saw the biggest usage of the pictographs so far. "Face with tears of joy" was the most used emoji on the planet, used in 20 percent of texts in England and 17 percent of texts in the United States, a jump from single digits in 2014.

And emojis are now commonly used by the greater population, not just teens, to express more nuanced communication in texts and to communicate across different languages.

Other words on the shortlist were "sharing economy," "they," "on fleek," "ad blocker," "refugee," "Brexit," "Dark Web" and "lumbersexual."

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