Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is the tears of joy emoji

image copyrightOxford Dictionaries

For the first time ever, Oxford Dictionaries have chosen a "pictograph" as its word of the year.

They say the "face with tears of joy emoji" best represents "the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015".

"Emoji culture has become so popular that individual characters have developed their own trends and stories," says Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford Dictionaries.

The image shows the "playfulness and intimacy" of emoji culture, he says.

Here are some of the other shortlisted words...

image copyrightHandout

"Brexit", which refers to the possibility of the UK leaving the European Union.

Another selection is the pronoun "they", but used singularly (in the manner of "she" or "he") to refer to a person of unspecified sex or gender.

"Lumbersexual" was also in contention. It means a "young urban man who cultivates an appearance and style of dress, typified by a beard and checked shirt," according to Oxford Dictionaries.

The organisation is currently asking website users to vote for which of the shortlisted words they would have chosen.

As things stand, "they" currently has more than a quarter of votes.

In second place is "refugee", with one in five votes. The emoji is in third place.

"Ad blocker", "dark web", "on fleek" and "sharing economy" complete the 2015 shortlist.

Last year "vape" was named the word of 2014, while other previous words of the year have included "selfie", "omnishambles" and "simples".

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