General Geekery

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

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

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