weather icon Overcast
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Oxford Dictionaries’ 2015 word of the year is seriously an emoji

Oxford Dictionaries’ 2015 word of the year is difficult to pronounce. Because it has no letters. It is a cartoon yellow face, shedding two giant tears.

It is not shedding tears of sadness for the English language. It is a happy crying face, most commonly used as an LOL alternative.

Every year, Oxford Dictionaries’ lexicographers chose a word that captures the year’s biggest trends or changes in the English language. The organization knew it wanted to pick an emoji for 2015. The tiny illustrations that pepper social media and text conversations have seen a surge in popularity in recent years.

“You can see how traditional alphabet scripts have been struggling to meet the rapid-fire, visually focused demands of 21st century communication,” said Oxford Dictionaries’ president Casper Grathwohl in a statement. “It’s not surprising that a pictographic script like emoji has stepped in to fill those gaps.”

The official name for the chosen emoji is “face with tears of joy,” according to the Unicode Consortium, the organization in charge of emoji standards. It was first introduced in 2010 and variations can be found on Android and iOS devices, on the web, and across social media.

There are more than 1,000 emoji characters, but Oxford could only chose one. A taco or unicorn emoji would have represented the most buzzed-about newcomers. The red heart is one of the oldest emojis.

Oxford Dictionaries teamed up with SwiftKey, a maker of emoji keyboards, to identify the most commonly used emoji. It found the tears of joy face was the most frequently used emoji in 2015, making up 17% of all emojis in the U.S. and 20% in the UK.

The emoji is the latest in a string of light-hearted picks from Oxford Dictionaries. Last year it went with “vape,” in 2013 it was “selfie,” and in 2012 it was “GIF.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Osteoporosis more prevalent in women but can also affect men

Worldwide, 1 in 3 women over age 50 will experience a bone fracture due to osteoporosis, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation. But 1 in 5 men over age 50 will have the same issue.

Why are some kids prone to ear infections?

Ear infections often are a direct result of a common cold, allergy or other upper respiratory illness. These illnesses are more common during the winter, so ear infections also are more common this time of year.

Will your smartphone be the next doctor’s office?

The same devices used to take selfies and type out tweets are being repurposed and commercialized for quick access to information needed for monitoring a patient’s health.

Jason Segel confronts mental health ‘stigma’

In his new series “Shrinking,” Segel portrays “psychological vigilante” Jimmy Laird, a brutally honest therapist who is dealing with a full emotional plate.