Oxford’s word of the year isn’t a word

WASHINGTON — The Oxford Dictionaries had no words to describe this year’s word of the year: It announced on Monday that the emoji officially known as the “Face with Tears of Joy” was the “word” that “best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015.”

The company says it’s because that particular emoji, and emojis in general, have exploded in popularity this year: 20 percent of all emojis used in the U.K., and 17 percent in the U.S., were the face with tears, up from 4 and 9 percent in 2014 respectively. And the use of the word “emoji” more than tripled in 2015 over 2014, the company says.

The shortlist for word of the year included “sharing economy,” “they” (in its sense of referring to someone of unspecified sex), “on fleek,” “ad blocker,” “refugee,” “Brexit” (the potential or hypothetical departure of the U.K. from the European Union), “Dark Web” and “lumbersexual” (an adherent of the recently ubiquitous beard-and-checked-shirt look).

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