Bits and Pieces · Rants

Word of the Year 2015

An emoji was elected as Word of the Year 2015 by Oxford Dictionaries. Are you kidding me? An emoji?! 

Here: I’ll show you:


This is NOT funny. This is sad.

I have exactly two questions about this:

  1. Since when does a smiley face qualify as a word?
  2. If it had to be an emoji, then why not this one:


Apparently the reason behind this madness is that emojis are an important tool in human communication nowadays and the ‘face with tears of joy’ is apparently the emoji that was used most often in 2015. Sure, sounds perfectly reasonable. Maybe we could give the title Novel of the Year to Birdman now? I haven’t watched it, but it won the Oscar for best film this year. I know, it’s not quite the same genre as a novel but  it’s certainly popular, so why not?

And it’s not even like there weren’t any interesting words the people of Oxford Dictionaries could have chosen instead. Here is the shortlist of words that were also in the running for the title Word of the Year 2015 as found on the Oxforddictionaries blog:

ad blocker, noun: A piece of software designed to prevent advertisements from appearing on a web page.

Brexit, noun: A term for the potential or hypothetical departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, from British + exit.

Dark Web, noun: The part of the World Wide Web that is only accessible by means of special software, allowing users and website operators to remain anonymous or untraceable.

on fleek, adjectival phrase: Extremely good, attractive, or stylish.

lumbersexual, noun: A young urban man who cultivates an appearance and style of dress (typified by a beard and check shirt) suggestive of a rugged outdoor lifestyle.

refugee, noun: A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

sharing economy, noun: An economic system in which assets or services are shared between private individuals, either for free or for a fee, typically by means of the Internet.

they (singular), pronoun: Used to refer to a person of unspecified sex.

Not that all of these words are absolutely mindblowing. But hey – at least they are words. I think that makes them a hell of a lot more eligible for the title Word of the Year than an emoji.

And some of them are actually quite good:

  • The replacement of the generic he with ‘they’ is in my opinion long overdue – choosing ‘they’ as word of the year would have been a brilliant choice.
  • Both refugee and Brexit are directly connected to this year’s political struggles, thereby illustrating that 2015 was more of a


than a


kind of year after all.

  • And lumbersexual is at least a little funny. If they’d chosen lumbersexual as word of the year, I imagine thousands of people would have had the following reaction to it:


But with them having chosen an emoji at they did, all they get from me is this:

Are you as scandalised as I am with their choice for a Word of the Year?

Which word from the shortlist would you have picked? 

If you didn’t like any of the words on the list – do you have a different suggestion?



6 thoughts on “Word of the Year 2015

  1. Interesting choice indeed… But I totally agree, if anything the smiley poo face should have won. There’s no way it is not actually the most used emoji 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would assume that they again want to emphasize how big of a role technology plays in our communication nowadays and how much it shapes it – was it last year or two years ago that ‘selfie’ was the word of the year? I think it was a ‘hashtag’ some years ago, too.
    My personal favorite would be ‘Brexit’ (which also fostered the creation of ‘Grexit`) or even ‘refugee’, but that just reflects my own interest in political matters.
    What I also find problematic is the fact that symbols (be it LMFAO smiley, poop face or just any other emoji) are what is actually widely used in the communication and not the word ’emoji’ itself. Hence, I do not understand why proclaiming ’emoji’ the word of the year when it is its graphic representation that is overtaking much of our written expression…


    1. But they did choose the graphic representation! They chose an emoji, namely the smiley face with tears, as Word of the Year, not simply the word ’emojy’. I could’ve lived with that! I assume they didn’t simply choose ‘#’ as word of the year, but ‘hashtag’, which makes much more sense, because ‘hashtag’ is a word, whereas ‘#’ isn’t. Well, this year they chose ‘#’, so to say. Hope that clarifies it!


  3. Ok, that being clarified, I’m totally with you in this rant! Still, my stance on the impact of technology on communication remains unchanged…


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