“There were other strong contenders from a range of fields, but ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ was chosen as the ‘word’ that best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015,” writes Oxford in the post explaining the decision.
Oxford cites the upward trajectory of the emoji’s takeover in 2015 as the go-to means for communicating such things as hunger, affection and suggested activities. In partnership with SwiftKey, the UK tech company that makes the keyboard app for iPhone and Android devices that predicts writing styles, Oxford states that the emoji was picked “because it was the most used emoji globally in 2015…[making up] 20 percent of all the emojis used in the UK in 2015, and 17 percent of those in the US.”
See the rise of the emoji in the chart below:
Other finalists included lumbersexual, sharing economy and ad blocker.
See an illustration of other finalists below: