Emoji Selected as 2015’s Oxford Word of the Year

January 17, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. candidate / ˈkæn dɪˌdeɪt / (n.) – something or someone that is being considered for a prize or title
Example: Most of the candidates for the Car of the Year award are European brands.

2. particular / pərˈtɪk yə lər / (adj.) – referring to something specific
Example: In what particular year did he win the award?

3. database /ˈdeɪ təˌbeɪs / (n.) – a compilation of information kept mostly in computers
Example: They have a database of the most popular words used on the Internet.

4. publicity / pʌˈblɪs ɪ ti / (n.) – the business of encouraging people to support or give attention to someone or something
Example: Lisa is often interviewed because she works in publicity.

5. smirk / smɜrk / (n.) – a smile about something negative
Example: She had a smirk on her face when her enemy lost.


Read the text below.
An emoji became Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year, beating other candidates such as “on fleek”, “lumbersexual”, and “refugee.”

Every year, Oxford Dictionaries selects one word among many candidates that best describes that particular year. This practice started in 2004. Last year, however, the winner is not an actual word, but an emoji representing a face with tears of joy. According to Oxford Dictionaries, an emoji was chosen to show emojis’ increased popularity worldwide in 2015.

As usual, candidates for 2015’s Word of the Year were taken from an electronic database of written or spoken language called the Oxford Dictionaries Corpus. Using advanced software, the Oxford Dictionaries selection team identified new words growing in popularity each day. This team is composed of lexicographers, or those involved in the creation of a dictionary, along with people who work in editorial, marketing, and publicity.

After careful consideration, the team found that even though emojis have been around for quite a while now, their popularity grew strongest in 2015. To determine which among the popular emojis was most frequently used, Oxford University Press partnered with Swiftkey, a leading mobile technology business. Based on Swiftkey’s data, the face with tears of joy was the most used emoji across the globe last year.

The face with tears of joy is one of the top 10 most viewed emojis in Emojipedia in 2015. Emojipedia is a website dedicated to compiling information about emojis across different platforms. Other popular emojis include the smiling face with heart-shaped eyes, the smirk, and the hugging face.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         How do you feel about an emoji winning Word of the Year?
·         If you could choose the Word of the Year for 2015, what would it be and why?

Discussion B

·         In your country, what new words are used frequently? How did they originate?
·         Do you like to stick to standard language (e.g. correct spelling, grammar, and terms) or do you use shortcuts and slang? Why?

January 17, 2016