WOTY 2015

« previous post | next post »

According to a press release sent out earlier today,

Today Oxford Dictionaries announces the emoji, commonly known as “Face with Tears of Joy,” as its “Word” of the Year for 2015.

They explain that

This year Oxford University Press partnered with leading mobile technology business SwiftKey to explore frequency and usage statistics for some of the most popular emoji across the world. “Face with Tears of Joy” came out a clear winner. According to SwiftKey’s research, “Face with Tears of Joy” was the most heavily used emoji globally in 2015. Their research shows that the character comprised 20% of all emoji used in the UK in 2015, and 17% of all emoji used in the US. This compared to 4% and 9% respectively in 2014. In the US the next most popular emoji was “Face Throwing a Kiss,” comprising 9% of all usage.



  1. Stan Carey said,

    November 16, 2015 @ 1:51 pm

    That's a good choice. It will also put the wind up the English-is-going-to-the-dogs brigade.

  2. Stan Carey said,

    November 16, 2015 @ 2:06 pm

    The emoji tracker website shows the frequency of their use on Twitter, updated in real time. Face with Tears of Joy is a clear leader there too.

  3. TomParmenter said,

    November 16, 2015 @ 5:14 pm

    The smiley face :) often built in, is surely more common.

  4. J. W. Brewer said,

    November 16, 2015 @ 6:15 pm

    Is the English language going to need a Victor Mair to inveigh against popular misconceptions that characters in a non-alphabetic writing system are "words"?

  5. Matt said,

    November 16, 2015 @ 11:47 pm

    "In English, the word is made up of the components 'tears' and 'smile', thus 'smile through your tears' – another example of the deep influence Occidental philosophy had on the languages of the West."

  6. Matt said,

    November 16, 2015 @ 11:48 pm

    (Foiled by WordPress! Insert this emoji after "word" for best effect.)

  7. C said,

    November 17, 2015 @ 5:06 am

    @Matt, I don't know what you're quoting from, but "smile through your tears" has a very different meaning from "tears of joy", at least, for me.

  8. Bean said,

    November 17, 2015 @ 7:46 am

    @C – I think Matt was just doing a send-up of the way that non-alphabetic characters are usually explained here… and in that he's spot-on, since every time someone explains a character here, the roots of it seem to be a bit of a stretch relative to the current meaning. :)

  9. Julian said,

    November 17, 2015 @ 11:43 am

    "Face with tears of joy" is the name of this emoji? It's certainly used to mean a lot more than that, from raucous laughter to crying really heavily.

  10. Nathan said,

    November 17, 2015 @ 9:47 pm

    Is the factoid of which "was the most heavily used emoji globally in 2015" relevant to the choice of a Word of the Year? I'm guessing that even some pretty obscure words were probably used more than all emoji put together. Maybe I'm a curmudgeon, but I don't think I've ever even met a person who has used an emoji.

RSS feed for comments on this post