I really want to make fun of the Oxford English Dictionary for this, but then I look at the trends-focused, internet-obsessed company I work for and I realize that I am part of the problem here.
The Oxford English Dictionary has been charting the history of English as a language since 1857, and their more recent Oxford Dictionaries website is a catalog by the Oxford University Press that’s updated to reflect how people speak.
Every November, they announce a Word of the Year. Last year’s was “vape,” and the year before that was “selfie.” But apparently those trendy words were too difficult, because this year they chose an emoji. Specifically, the “face with tears of joy” emoji.
According to SwiftKey, an app that studies how people type, the “face with tears of joy” was the most popular emoji worldwide in 2015. Which irks me the same way that “ROTFL” does – clearly you have not literally collapsed and/or are in tears of laughter, if you are collected enough to tap at your phone. At most you’re snorting through your nose a bit.
Also on the Word of the Year shortlist were “ad blocker,” “on fleek,” “lumbersexual,” and “Dark Web.”