Language is a wonderful, masterfully evolving beast and we're all just puppets bending to its many whims. Dictionaries aren't safe from the power of a linguistic whim either, and so maybe that's why Oxford Dictionaries has chosen an emoji as its 2015 word of the year. It's the crying-from-laughter / crying-from-happiness emoji — officially known as the Face with Tears of Joy emoji.
Oxford Dictionaries is laughing at us
Dictionaries have been choosing annual words of the year for, uh, years, but this year, the Oxford University Press partnered with SwiftKey to determine the most popular emoji from around the world. And the Tears of Joy emoji was the winner. The ToJ's rise has been a quick one: in 2014, it made up just 4 percent of all emoji used in the UK, and this year that number rose to 20 percent.
It's also possible this whole word of the year thing is just a long con so Oxford Dictionaries could have a conversation with itself. Last year's word of the year was "vape" and this year, the Oxford University Press is having a laugh about it.
Correction, 6:30PM ET: A previous version of this article stated that ToJ was the Oxford English Dictionary's word of the year, not Oxford Dictionaries.