May 17, 2022

First Time Ever: An Emoji is the 2015 Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year

From the Oxford Words Blog:

As 2015 draws to a close, it’s time to look back and see which words have been significant throughout the past twelve months, and to announce the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year. Without further ado, we can reveal that the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015 is…

For the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a pictograph, officially called the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji.

Emojis (the plural can be either emoji or emojis) have been around since the late 1990s, but this year saw their use, and use of the word emoji, increase hugely. According to data from the Oxford Dictionaries New Monitor Corpus, usage of the word emoji more than tripled in 2015 over the previous year.

Other Possibilities on the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year Shortlist Included:

  • 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
  • fleek, noun: (chiefly in the phrase on fleek) 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.

Read the Complete Blog Post (View Chart)

Note: Oxford Dictionaries and the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) are different products and intended for different users/uses. Words in ODO might not be in OED. Both reference resources are published by Oxford University Press. This page explains the main differences between the two reference tools.

See Also: How do you decide if new words should enter Oxford Dictionaries? (via OD Web Site)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.