“There were other strong contenders from a range of fields, outlined below, but ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji was chosen as the ‘word’ that best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015,” the Oxford Dictionaries announced in a statement.
The internet commentary repeatedly noted that perhaps a ‘Word of the Year’ should actually appear in the dictionary, as well as the fact that it appears humans are devolving back to grunts and cave wall paintings.
— Jacob Barton (@notrabbocaj) November 17, 2015
Words matter, and this is a slap in the face of language.
"You can see how traditional alphabet scripts have been struggling to meet the rapid-fire, visually focused demands of 21st Century communication. 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,” Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Dictionaries told the Telegraph.
He explained that they chose ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji out of the slew of emoticons available as it was reportedly the most-used around the world last year.
The shortlist of runner ups also raised some eyebrows, or perhaps we should say “eyebrows on fleek” as the phrase meaning “stylish” or “attractive” was also in the running.
Other shortlisted words and phrases included sharing economy, they (to refer to a person of unspecified sex), ad blocker, refugee, Brexit, Dark Web, and lumbersexual (an urban man who cultivates an appearance and style of dress typified by a beard and check shirt, suggesting a rugged outdoor lifestyle).
On second thought, perhaps it would be best if we did stop speaking altogether.