An emoji has become the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015. I find their arguments for calling an emoji a word rather spurious. For instance, what the author says about the Brooklyn case he could as well say if the terrorist suspect used selfies instead of emojis. Once you start calling selfies words, you can start calling videos sentences . . . I’d rather not follow this train of thought any further.
First of all, however, I had to find out what exactly an emoji was. Turned out my previous idea, namely, that it was a new and thus ‘cooler’ term for a smiley, was wrong. Smileys are just a subset of emojis. Emoji is a new, Japanese, and thus ‘cooler’ term for a pictograph. More precisely, they are an IT subset of pictographs. Luckily, I’m old enough not to have to be cool and can stick to the good old Latinate word.