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For the first time ever, the Word of the Year is not actually a word

The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015 is not a word. For the first time ever, it’s an emoji (or emoticon). The “face with tears of joy”emoji was chosen from a shortlist of strong contenders “as the ‘word’ that best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015”.

In 2015, the use of emoji, and of the word emoji, increased significantly.The number of emoji also continues to grow.

The increased use of emoji and the awarding of Word of the Year to an emoji may add to concerns that the rise of emoji spells the beginning of the end for written language. However, a linguistics professor argues that this won’t happen.

The other words that made the Word of the Year 2015 shortlist were:

ad blocker, noun: A piece of software designed to prevent advertisements from appearing on a web page.

Brexit, noun: A term for the potential or hypothetical departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, from British + exit.

Dark Web, noun: The part of the World Wide Web that is only accessible by means of special software, allowing users and website operators to remain anonymous or untraceable.

on fleek, adjectival phrase: Extremely good, attractive, or stylish.

lumbersexual, noun: A young urban man who cultivates an appearance and style of dress (typified by a beard and check shirt) suggestive of a rugged outdoor lifestyle.

refugee, noun: A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

sharing economy, noun: An economic system in which assets or services are shared between private individuals, either for free or for a fee, typically by means of the Internet.

they (singular), pronoun: Used to refer to a person of unspecified sex.

Source: Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015.


Also published on Medium.

Bruce Boyes

Bruce Boyes (www.bruceboyes.info) is editor, lead writer, and a director of the award-winning RealKM Magazine (www.realkm.com) and currently also teaches in the University of NSW (UNSW) Foundation Studies program in China. He has expertise and experience in a wide range of areas including knowledge management (KM), environmental management, program and project management, writing and editing, stakeholder engagement, communications, and research. Bruce holds a Master of Environmental Management with Distinction and a Certificate of Technology (Electronics). With a demonstrated ability to identify and implement innovative solutions to social and ecological complexity, Bruce's many career highlights include establishing RealKM Magazine as an award-winning resource for knowledge managers, using agile and knowledge management approaches to oversee the implementation of an award-winning $77.4 million river recovery program in western Sydney on time and under budget, leading a knowledge strategy process for Australia's 56 natural resource management (NRM) regional organisations, pioneering collaborative learning and governance approaches to support communities to sustainably manage landscapes and catchments, and initiating and teaching two new knowledge management subjects at Shanxi University in China.

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