Why Yes, the 'Tears of Joy' Emoji: Your Guide to Using 2015's Word of the Year

Photo: Oxford Dictionaries

This is our life now: Oxford Dictionaries announced their hotly anticipated word of the year, but instead of choosing a word in the traditional sense, they put forth an emoji. Specifically, it’s the “face with tears of joy” emoji, as it’s known to the few people compelled to match vocabulary to an image that manages to be both the “word” and the definition in one tiny yellow package.

The Oxford University Press said it worked with SwiftKey, a “predictive-text keyboard” used on mobile devices that tracks frequency of usage of letters and symbols. SwiftKey found that the “tears of joy” emoji was the most used emoji around the world in 2015 – making up a whopping 17 percent of all emoji use in the U.S.

“Emojis are no longer the preserve of texting teens,” the Oxford University Press said. “Instead, they have been embraced as a nuanced form of expression, and one which can cross language barriers.” (Other top contenders? “Ad blocker,” “Brexit” (Britain’s hypothetical exit from the European Union), “Dark Web,” “on fleek,” “lumbersexual,” “refugee” and “sharing economy.”)

For those unfamiliar with the reigning emoji – which we’ve been referring to for years as Nicki Minaj’s Insta Caption of Choice – we put together a handy usage guide.

Situation: Your roommate texts you, “Hey, don’t want to bother you, but it would be really cool if we could all keep it down by 9 p.m. because some of us have to get up early to feed our parakeets.”

Appropriate Response: A single tears of joy emoji.

Implication: “You and your parakeet are perfect for each other.”


Situation: When your best friend asks you if the boy you like ever texted you back.

Appropriate Response: Three tears of joy emojis.

Implication: “No joy here – laughing to avoid crying! Smiling through the pain! Hahaha!”

Situation: Your friend texts you the best “Hotline Bling” meme yet.

Appropriate Response: Tears of joy emoji, screaming emoji, crying hysterically emoji, heart-eye emoji, heart-eye emoji, sunglasses emoji, pained face emoji, clenched mouth emoji, crying hysterically emoji, tears of joy emoji.

Implication: “So overwhelmed that I’ve lost control of my face and heart.”


Situation: A friend tags you in a new Doug the Pug photo.

Appropriate Response: Tears of joy emoji plus the text, “It me.”

Implication: “Doug the Pug knows me better than I know myself.”

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