Oxford Word of the Year: Emoji

Ana Ramos, Online Editor

Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015 is… Emoji. Emojis have been around since the late 1990’s; but it wasn’t until 2015 that their usage peaked. Oxford University Press teamed up with leading technology mobile business SwiftKey, and together they gathered information that showed made up 20% of all the emojis used in the UK in 2015, and 17% of those in the US: a sharp rise from 4% and 9% respectively in 2014. The word emoji also rose in popularity recently; it has been found in English since 1997, but usage more than tripled in 2015 over the previous year according to data from the Oxford Dictionaries Corpus.The definition of an emoji is “a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication” and the term emoji comes originally from Japanese. The letter e means picture and the word moji means letter or character. The similarity to the English word emoticon has helped the rise in use, though the resemblance is actually entirely coincidental: emoticon (a facial expression composed of keyboard characters, such as XD, rather than a stylized image) comes from the English words emotion and icon. Many words that we use every day also appeared in the World of the Year Shortlist. Some of the words in it are: on fleek, they (word used to refer to a person of unspecified sex), refugee, and ad blocker (A piece of software designed to prevent advertisements from appearing on a web page). More and more our generation makes up the future in language, as we pretty much change everything else.