The most popular word of 2014 has been revealed, and is not actually a word at all but a symbol meaning love. 

A heart 'emoji' was the most widely used character in blogs, Twitter and Facebook and in 250,000 global news outlets in the last 12 months, according to analysts. 

The increasing prominence of the emoji or emoticon shows how symbols are making their way into the English language with the rise of the internet.

here are now 722 recognised characters which portray an emotion, expression, or state of mind, or a person, place or thing - with another 250 to be made available over the next year. 

The list was compiled by the Global Language Monitor in Austin, Texas, which analyses the use of words and symbols in blogs, social media and 250,000 of the most popular online and print news outlets across the world. 

Researchers found the heart emoji appeared billions of times a day across the world.