Now that 2015 is mere hours away, the Global Language Monitor felt it was time to unveil the "Top Word for 2014". But it's not technically a word.
As part of its 15th Annual Survey of the English language, which - as you might have noticed - is ever-evolving, the GLM has discovered that The Heart (and Love) Emoji was the most frequently used word in 2014. In fact, variations of the emoji character were used "billions of times a day" around the world and across many different languages and cultures.
Not only is it interesting that an emoji is considered an official English-language word, but that the GLM has decided a picture character is capable of landing the Word of the Year honour. It's a sign that internet culture is becoming increasingly popular and having a direct affect on the way people communicate in the modern world.
Want to know which other "words" and phrases and names were popular? GLM has gathered up the data, which we've laid out below.
What is GLM?
GLM stands for Global Language Monitor. It is an 11-year-old company based in Texas that combs through the internet, blogs, and more than 250,000 print and digital news media outlets, looking for the most frequently used words, phrases, and names.
Here are the top 10 words from 2014, along with descriptions provided by GLM:
1. The Heart (and Love) Emoji - Represents an emotion, state of mind, person, place, or thing.
2. Hashtag - The re-invented pound-sign becomes evermore powerful
3. Vape - Smoking an electronic or e-cigarette, shorthand for vaporize, or vaping
4. Blood Moon - Four total eclipses of the moon in eighteen-month span
5. Nano - From Greek for dwarf, small; now 1 billionth of a meter
6. Photo Bomb - Breaking into a "pre-arranged” photograph without authorisation
7. Caliphate - Literally, a land ruled by an Islamic Caliph typically governed under Sharia Law
8. (White) privilege - The alleged advantages of having lighter colored skin in a diverse society
9. Bae - Term of endearment for one’s object of desire
10. “Bash” Tag - Using a hashtag to undermine your frenemies
What is an emoji?
Emoji are “picture characters” commonly used in texting and messaging apps throughout the world.
There are a total of 722 emoji characters currently available, though rumours have long circulated that the Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit organisation the governs the Unicode Standard and determines which emoji characters are accepted, would introduce new emoji characters as part of a Unicode update scheduled to launch in mid-2015.
FiveThirtyEight ranked the most popular emoji characters in June (based on real-time data from Emojitracker.com), and it found that The Heart (and Love) Emoji had been used more than 342 million times since the site was launched.
Want to know more?
GLM also ranked the most used phrases/comments and names from 2014.
- Top phrase: Hands Up, Don't Shoot - Protestors and demonstrators made it a viral slogan of sorts after the shooting of an unarmed suspect in Missouri last summer.
- Top name: Ebola - A highly contagious, often fatal, and hemorrhagic disease. An outbreak is currently occuring in West Africa and has claimed thousands of lives.
You can see GLM's complete lists at Languagemonitor.com.