That’s right – for the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a pictograph: ?, officially called the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji – though you may know it by other names.

There were other strong contenders from a range of fields, outlined below, but ? was chosen as the ‘word’ that best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015.

The reason why they chose this emoji is because, it’s what “best reflects the mood and concerns of 2015”.

Plus it helps that it’s the most popular emoji around the world.


This means two things: young people and adults alike, basically anyone who texts, identify more with images or emojis to express their feelings. Does this mean then that words are losing their relevance? At least, in a digital perspective, it could be? ???


We personally resort to the so-called ‘Face with Tears Of Joy’ emoji and the ‘Monkey Covering Face With Hands’ at every possible opportunity. Because let’s face it – it’s a lot less effort than having to think of a quick witted reply (not to mention we’re sometimes under unfortunate time restrictions to answer all of our WhatsApp messages in work.)


What would you choose to be the 2015 Word of the Year? Check out those that made the shortlist below…


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.

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