Welcome to the future, where selfies kill more people than sharks and the word of the year isn't a word at all! Words are so 2014, after all.
Thankfully, Oxford Dictionaries is up on the times and didn't choose an actual word to hold the honored title of 2015's Word of the Year. Instead, they chose…
An emoji! But which emoji?! Care to take a guess? Which emoji best personified the cultural zeitgeist this past year? The eggplant? The dancing lady in the red dress? The smiling pile of poop?
Nope, Oxford's "Word" of the Year is…
The "Face With Tears of Joy" emoji!
Gone are the days when you used to just write "lol" or "haha" or "LOLZZ" to people who made you laugh over text and social media. Now, you just select the emoji that is laughing so hard it's crying. Or maybe you use it when you're messaging with someone on Tinder and they say something like, "there's a VIP party in my pants and you're on the guest list. Also, the VIP stands for Very Important Penis." In that instance, you are probably using the emoji to mean "I'm laughing and crying at the same time because that was ridiculous but also I'm depressed that this is what dating has come to."
The point is, we all use emojis. And that's precisely why Oxford chose one for the Word of the Year.
"Although emoji have been a staple of texting teens for some time, emoji culture exploded into the global mainstream over the past year," the company said 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."
So why did they pick that particular emoji? Simple. It's one of the most used emojis out there.
"This year Oxford University Press have partnered with leading mobile technology business SwiftKey to explore frequency and usage statistics for some of the most popular emoji across the world, and [Face with Tears of Joy'] was chosen because it was the most used emoji globally in 2015," Oxford writes on their blog. "SwiftKey identified that [Face with Tears of Joy] made up 20% of all the emojis used in the UK in 2015, and 17% of those in the US."
Though an emoji was the winner, these terms were also on the short list for 2015's Word of the Year:
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, from British + exit.
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.
on fleek, adjectival phrase: Extremely good, attractive, or stylish.
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.
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 for free or for a fee, typically by means of the Internet.
they (singular), pronoun: Used to refer to a person of unspecified sex.
We are just thankful "on fleek" didn't win Word of the Year because then we'd have to figure out what that actually meant. We know Taraji P. Henson's eyebrows are on fleek, but we don't know why.
Speaking of Taraji and emojis, check out how the cast of Empire described the new season using only emojis: