Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year is Baffling, Insane, and an Emoji

November 17, 2015
by Christopher Gates
  • Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Year

A little while back, I did a write-up on the geekiest words added to the Oxford English Dictionary this year, so I’m no stranger to dictionary’s nerdy predilections. Still, nothing—and I mean nothing—could have prepared me for this.

Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year is an emoji.

Let me repeat that:

Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year is an emoji.

Not even one of the good emoji, either. In case you didn’t see the header image, it’s this little fella:

laughing emoji




As someone who uses words to make money, I find this distressing. As a rational human being, who assumes that dictionaries are also written by rational human beings, I find this baffling. As someone who’s amused by strange dictionary definitions—actually, from that perspective, I’m okay with it.

Just look at the runner-ups. The word of the year could’ve been ad blocker (“noun. A piece of software designed to prevent advertisements from appearing on a web page”), which is  neutral-face-emoji. It could’ve been on fleek (“adjectival phrase. Extremely good, attractive, or stylish.”), which is rolling eyes emoji. It could’ve been 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.”), which is vomit emoji.

You know what? Those are all terrible choices. In summation, here’s my Emoji of the Year for Oxford Dictionaries:

middle finger emoji


Christopher Gates lives in Los Angeles, CA. He writes about video games, comic books, and pop culture for sites like Looper, Maxim, Playboy, The Star Wars Insider, and others. In his spare time, he reads too many comics, watches too much baseball, and drinks too much beer.

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