The Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year isn’t actually a word.

Image: iStock.

It’s the day all word buffs await with baited breath – the announcement of the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year.

Last year it was ‘vape’, the year before that ‘selfie‘, but 2015’s word of the year? Well, we’ve got no, erm, words. Quite literally.

That’s because for the first time ever, those that rule the dictionary haven’t even picked a word – they’ve selected an emoji. This emoji, to be specific:

The face we're tempted to pull because is this all a joke... right? Image: supplied.

 

And yes, it's the face we're quite tempted to pull ourselves, because this is surely just a joke... right?

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it.

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The purpose of the word of the year is to capture the zeitgeist, and by selecting an emoji the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary and Oxford Dictionaries Online hope to make a statement about how we communicate in our now-heavily digital daily lives.

Watch: The funniest passive aggressive notes you'll ever see. (Post continues after video.)

"Although emoji have been a staple of texting teens for some time, emoji culture exploded into the global mainstream over the past year. Emoji have come to embody a core aspect of living in a digital world that is visually driven, emotionally expressive, and obsessively immediate," they said in a press release.

To find the most-used emoji, Oxford University Press joined forces with keyboard-app company SwiftKey and found the LOL emoji (officially known as the 'Face With Tears of Joy' emoji) made up nearly 20 per cent of all emoji use in the US and UK. Coming second - with a whopping 11 per cent difference - was the winky-kiss emoji. Imagine what a different story that would be.

But before you get all high-brow on the emoji and say it's killing the art of conversation, Oxford Dictionaries Caspar Grathwohl says it's far from it.

"Emoji are becoming an increasingly rich form of communication, one that transcends linguistic borders," he said in a statement. (Post continues after gallery.)

Unfortunately, that doesn't mean you'll start seeing it in the dictionary any time soon.

While the word 'emoji' was inducted in in 2013, there are no plans to introduce the actual smiley faces in either the online or print versions (sorry, keen Scrabblers). It's a historic moment - this is the first time ever the word of the year is neither a word nor in the book that's essentially the bible of words.

It will however give any keen-emoji user validation of their linguistic sophistication - we're only gutted (and surprised) it wasn't the wine or peach emoji. Next year, maybe?

How do you feel about the word of the year?

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