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(Pocket-lint) - You'll never guess The Oxford English Dictionary's Word of the Year for 2015, but when you find out, let's just say you'll be crying from laughter.

Oxford University Press, which publishes the Oxford English Dictionary, has announced the Word of the Year every year for more than a decade. In 2013, it was "selfie", followed by "vape" in 2014, and to be honest, those words do seem to represent their respective years. So, with that in mind, what do you think is the word for 2015? Well, here's a hint: it's not a word.

For the first time ever, the Word of the Year is an emoji. It's the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji, though it's also known as the 'Crying from Laughter' emoji, among other things. Oxford University Press said it picks the word every year that best reflects the "ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015." So, apparently, for this year, that's the crying/happy emoji.

Oxford University Press partnered with SwiftKey to explore the frequency and usage statistics for some of the most popular emoji across the world. SwiftKey discovered the 'Face with Tears of Joy' emoji accounted for 20 per cent of all the emojis used in the UK in 2015 and 17 per cent of those in the US. The word emoji also tripled in 2015 over the previous year.

Oxford University Press isn't the only organisation to notice the popularity of emoji; The Global Language Monitor - an 11-year-old company that looks for the most frequently used words, phrases, and names - discovered in 2014 that 'The Heart (and Love)' emoji was the most frequently used word of that year. Variations of the heart were used "billions of times a day".

Apart from emoji, Oxford University Press named a few other "shortlist" words worth highlighting, and those include: 'brexit', 'dark web', 'on fleek', 'lumbersexual', 'refugee', 'sharing economy', and 'they'.


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Writing by Elyse Betters. Originally published on 16 November 2015.