Oxford Dictionaries announced its word of the year, which isn’t a word as we generally think of one—it’s an emoji.
— Oxford Dictionaries (@OxfordWords) November 16, 2015
At first glance, my reaction was that they should consult their own product to get the definition of “word.” So, I did.
Turns out, the definition “word” is fairly broad. Here’s the first of a few definitions:
A single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence and typically shown with a space on either side when written or printed.
Does the “face with tears of joy” emoji fit any of these criteria? You can certainly argue that it does. Nothing says the word has to be comprised of letters.