Words and emojis of the year

Words of the year reflect social, political and technological developments.

In December, it was announced that 'vape' had been chosen by Oxford Dictionaries as the UK’s word of the year.  Vape, both a noun and a verb, reflects the growing awareness and use of e-cigarettes.  Collins Dictionary chose 'photobomb'.

Oxford Dictionaries also announced 1000 new entries to its online dictionary, including a number of social-media and gaming related terms – e.g. digital footprint; lolcat; permadeath.

Words (and hashtags) of the year around the world

  • 'Selfie' was the word of the year in Italy, the Philippines and Spain – it was also the public’s choice for word of the year in France
  • In Portugal the word of the year reflected news stories - 'corrupção' means to become corrupt
  • Children in Belgium selected 'OMG' as their word of the year.
  • The German word of the year reflected the 25th anniversary celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall – Lichtgrenze means border of light
  • One of France’s words of the year 'Médicalemant' – is a portmanteau word meaning a medicine taken to calm down
  • The Australian word of the year 'shirtfront' means to confront someone forcefully

In America, the American Dialect Society voted a hashtag as its word of the year for the first time – two years after 'hashtag' itself was its word of the year.  #BlackLivesMatter was chosen, not necessarily because it is 'a word' but because "...it demonstrates how powerfully a hashtag can convey a succinct social message".

When a word is not a word

Global Language Monitor announced that its word of the year was the heart emoji. 

The company analysed the frequency and usage of English words across e and print media sources.  If you want to see with your own eyes evidence of the popularity of emojis, go to emojitracker which tracks the realtime use of emojis on Twitter.

Happy 2015!

Other sources: The Telegraph; Oxford University Press; The American Dialect Society.