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“LOL” Emoji is the shock choice for word of the year

By HILLARY KIMUYU November 18th, 2015 2 min read

Oxford Dictionaries made history on Monday by announcing that their “Word of the Year” would not be one of those old-fashioned, string-of-letters-type words at all.

They have instead settled on the ‘Laughing Out Loud’ symbol.

Commonly known also as LOL, it made up 20 percent of all Emojis used in the United Kingdom in the past year, and 17 percent in the United States.

This is a marked increase on the 4 percent and 9 percent recorded respectively in the two countries in 2014.

It is the first time a pictograph has been selected.

Oxford Dictionaries said the symbol was chosen because it was the most used Emoji globally in 2015.

Emojis were first used by Japanese telecommunications companies but have since gained popularity through iPhones and android gadgets, the report said.

“Although Emojis have been a staple of texting teens for some time, Emoji culture exploded into the global mainstream over the past year,” the company’s team wrote in a press release.

“Emoji have come to embody a core aspect of living in a digital world that is visually driven, emotionally expressive, and obsessively immediate.”

Oxford University Press, which publishes both the august Oxford English Dictionary and the lower-brow, more-modern Oxford Dictionaries Online, partnered with keyboard-app company SwiftKey to determine which Emoji was getting the most play this past year.

According to their data, the “Face With Tears of Joy” Emoji, also known as LOL Emoji or Laughing Emoji, comprised nearly 20% of all Emoji used in the US and the UK.

Here are the other words that made Oxford’s short list:

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.
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

lumbersexual, noun: a young urban man who cultivates an appearance and style of dress (typified by a beard and checked shirt) suggestive of a rugged outdoor lifestyle

on fleek, adjective: extremely good, attractive, or stylish

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 free or for a fee, typically by means of the Internet.

they (singular), pronoun: Used to refer to a person of unspecified sex.