Experts at Oxford Dictionaries' said the symbol 'embodies a core aspect of living in a digital world that is visually driven, emotionally expressive, and obsessively immediate'.
The symbol showing a yellow smiley face weeping tears of laughter made history as a result of its popularity on social media and instant messaging.
It is the first time the list has included an entry that is not a word. The digital age seems to have a strong influence on this year's list with 'ad block' and 'dark web' reflecting the "ethos, mood or preoccupations" of the modern day.
'Refugee' also made the shortlist thanks to current political situation, along with 'Brexit'.
"You can see how traditional alphabet scripts have been struggling to meet the rapid-fire, visually focused demands of 21st Century communication. It's not surprising that a pictographic script like emoji has stepped in to fill those gaps — it's flexible, immediate, and infuses tone beautifully," said Casper Grathwohl, President of 'Oxford Dictionaries'.

The 'face with tears of joy' emoji was selected in conjunction with technology firm SwiftKey, whose research found it was the most-used around the world in the last year.