The selection for Oxford Dictionaries word of the year is meant to reflect the current cultural landscape and what we've been talking about lately. The choices of the past few years—GIF, selfie, vape—were relative newcomers that described practices we hadn't needed words for before. This year's choice takes that idea a step further, summing up a practice that takes us beyond words. The word of the year is the "Face with Tears of Joy" emoji:

 

The choice of this particular emoji was based on its worldwide popularity. In partnership with Oxford University Press, mobile technology company SwiftKey determined that "Face with Tears of Joy" was the most used emoji of 2015. Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Dictionaries, says that the choice of this particular expression is particularly fitting because "not only did we see a dramatic spike in usage of ‘Face with Tears of Joy,’ we felt the character captured a sense playfulness and intimacy that embodies emoji culture itself.”

The emoji of joy beat out other nominees like ad blocker, lumbersexual, and on fleek.