The real meaning behind the most popular emojis (2023)

Emoji meanings can be incredibly confusing. Are you crying from laughing so much or just crying? Learn how to decode emoji with our handy guide.

Emoji meanings can be confusing

Even if you don't text often, you're probably familiar with emojis (that's right, the plural is the same as the singular): they appear in advertisements, in captions, and in videos. In 2015, Oxford Dictionaries even declared an emoji the word of the year: โ€œface with tears of joyโ€, aka โ€œcrying with laughterโ€. EITHERemoji storyIt's more than you might think, and with over 60% of people over the age of 35 calling themselves "frequent" emoji users, there's no doubt that emoji is here to stay. However, for all the emojis that circulate in our texts and captions, there is not much consensus on the meanings of these emojis.

A 2016 study illustrated the huge misunderstandings that can occur when people use emoji: From meaning to emotion, misinterpretations are extremely common. This confusion only adds to the challenge when it comes toemoji riddles. All the emojis are made with Unicode, but they all look different on different platforms, from Apple and Android to Facebook and Twitter. Most of the confusion in understanding seems to come from the face emoji, which makes sense; even in real life, one person's cheerful smile is another's sarcastic smile. Similarly, the emoji that appears to be grimacing on Apple devices is smiling on Android devices. However, there is some general consensus on the use and meaning of most emoji, some based on the intent of the Japanese creators and others on the way they have been interpreted and used here in the West. Be sure to check this helpful box because it can help you avoid some serious misunderstandings! And be sure to check these emojiand read about theseheart emoji meaningsbefore writing your next message.

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What do the emoji symbols mean? From confused faces to mysterious symbols

smileysMeaningwhen to use
๐Ÿ˜‚This emoji is sometimes confused with hiccups, but the true meaning of the emoji is laughter: laughing so hard you cry.When your cat, child, or spouse does or says something funny.
๐Ÿ™ƒThe reversed smiley face can be used to say something silly or playful, but its best use is for something that is often very difficult to convey in text: sarcasm! You're smiling, but you're not really smiling, you know?Your friend asks you to pick him up at the airport and you say โ€œSure!โ€ before they say they arrive at 5 am.
๐Ÿ˜ŒThis is called the "face of relief," but we've always thought of it more as calm, unassuming contentment.Someone says that he really liked the gift you sent him.
๐Ÿ˜…The sweaty smiley face is perfect for those times when you think something is going to work out but you're still a little nervous about it. Like that great presentation. Everything will be fine.When the surprise forecastbirthdayPicnic is planning changes to the โ€œchance of rainโ€ the day before.
๐Ÿ˜The smirk emoji can also indicate sarcasm, but be careful how you use it โ€“ this emoji is often used to flirt! To be safe, just don't send it to anyone you're related to.Playing with that cutie. You know which one.
๐Ÿ˜ฑAccording to the creators, this face means "scream in fear." It looks very similar to the painting.The Scream,but we think it also works to show shock.You're texting your spouse to remove a spider from the bathroom.
๐Ÿ˜ŽWe all know that wearing sunglasses makes us look effortlessly cool, and this emoji is used to capture that feeling: someone or something totally awesome.You just got a promotion.
๐Ÿ˜ดThis face is used to indicate being asleep. Or be so bored that you could fall asleep. Also, you snore. I'm sorry you had to find out that way!You really need to go home and sleep.
๐Ÿ˜ชThis emoji is technically called the "sleepy face" emoji, but it's more commonly used to represent tired sadness or sometimes illness.It has been a long and difficult week.
๐Ÿค—Jazz hands? Confusion? Do you feel pretty? No. This emoji is meant to indicate a hug!Someone shares good news with you!
๐Ÿ˜‹Although it looks like someone is making fun of you, it is actually meant to indicate something delicious. Like, delicious cookies.Sometimes you just need to post a photo of your brunch. This is the emoji of this photo.
๐Ÿ˜’This is one of the most flexible emojis out there. Although its name is "bored face", it is often referred to as the "side eye emoji" and can be used to indicate annoyance, disapproval or skepticism.When rumors circulate that your team is going to trade your favorite player.
๐Ÿ˜ฌThe "grimace face" is used for a variety of negative emotions: nervousness, embarrassment, embarrassment, it covers them all!Your phone automatically corrects a word, and suddenly your message is the opposite of what you meant.
๐Ÿ˜ถThe โ€œface without a mouthโ€ emoji is useful for those moments when you are at a loss for words. It can also be interpreted as very deliberatelyNocomments, such as when you're gossiping about someone's choice of clothing. Not that we would ever judge.For the (rare) moments when you judge.
๐Ÿ˜ฅAlthough the two teardrop faces may look similar, they must have different meanings. This one is called a "sad but relieved face" while the other is simply a "crying face." How to distinguish them? Well, this emoji is not crying. You are sweating! And the eyebrows are angled up instead of down. It's subtle, but it's there.We still think it looks like she's crying. Use it when you're upset, but things could have been worse. Like when you burned the cookies, but only half.
๐Ÿ˜ขThe classic crying face: This emoji is for small sadnesses, like the interruption of your favorite flavor of ice cream.We miss you, Ben & Jerry's Crรจme Brulee (2007-2012).
๐Ÿ˜•We were surprised to find that this emoji is called a "confused face," but on reflection, it has an aura of bewilderment.Trying to decide between an appetizer and a dessert.
๐Ÿ˜ฏNot to be confused with "shocked face" (below), this emoji is called the "silent face." Many emojis offer degrees of emotion, which is useful for communicating nuances in popular Internet messages without nuance. This is for a little surprise, good or bad.When your brother announces that he's bringing his new partner over for Thanksgiving dinner.
๐Ÿ˜ฒThe "shocked face" emoji shows their teeth, and that's how you know they're gaping in surprise.When you win the radio contest for free tickets to the festival.
๐Ÿ˜ฉTwo other emoji meanings that are often confused: this one, "tired face" and "tired face" (below). The main difference is in the shape of the eyes, but they convey two different feelings. First, resign yourself to an unpleasant task, and second, that something is so big that you have no choice but to give in.Your partner surprises you with a romantic weekend and is too sweet for you.
๐Ÿ˜ซVery tired face, really needs a vacation. Or they just watched the video of the cutest penguin in the world.You stayed up all night because your son has a stomach problem.
๐Ÿ˜–Although called a "confused face," this emoji is most commonly used to indicate that something has brought you to the point of crying. Some things are so wonderful that you want to cry. Other things are so terrible that you want to cry too.When you lose the prize. Also, when you win the prize.
๐Ÿ˜ฃConfusingly, this emoji is called the "persevering face." We have to admit, we thought of it more as a defeated face. It just demonstrates the power of perspective.You have a brief setback that you'll get over, like your printer dying the day you're due to turn in your thesis. Where is the nearest Staples?
๐Ÿ˜คThis emoji can be misinterpreted as anger or annoyance, but it's actually meant to represent a look of triumph. We think it works for both!When your child finally takes out the trash without being asked.
๐Ÿ˜ These emojis are another pair of confused faces. The yellow is called the "angry face", while the red (which looks angrier) is called the "pouty face". Generally, however, the red face is used to show a greater degree of anger than the very angry yellow face.When someone ate the leftovers, you planned to have lunch.
๐Ÿ˜กThis guy seems super crazy, doesn't he? Pouting is not a strong enough word!When someone threw out the leftovers you were planning to have for lunch.
๐Ÿ™ˆAs far as cute emojis go, the see no evil monkey is definitely up there. His brothers are the monkeys that hear no evil and speak no evil, also known as the Three Wise Monkeys. This guy can't believe what he's seeing! (Or he can't bear to watch!)If something so crazy happens that it's unbelievable (like your friend moving to Uzbekistan for a year), this is the emoji for you.
๐Ÿ™ŒThese next two emoji meanings are also often confusing; both are taken to mean prayer, or a high five! However, this is actually the "raised hands" emoji.Your sports team wins or a job presentation goes very well. Pair it with โ€œtriumphant faceโ€ for extra flair.
๐Ÿ™In Japanese culture, "clasped hands" means please or thank you. Here in the West, it is often interpreted as a prayer or even a high five. Usually, however, it is used to mean hope.You're getting married. Outside. No tent. She's going to be all right!
๐Ÿ™†โ€โ™€๏ธThis emoji apparently means "OK" as the arms are raised to make a circle for the O in OK. However, we did not buy it! Most of the time, people use this emoji, which means that they are dancing.It is party time.
๐Ÿ’โ€โ™€๏ธMore in the confused gesture emoticon genre: "woman at the information desk." That's right, she's not raising the roof or showing off her new bob haircut, she's here to give you instructions. Except no one knows, so we only use this emoji to mean something like "go girl."When your best friend applies for her dream job.
๐Ÿ™‡Another emoji that comes from Japanese culture is this โ€œbowing emoji.โ€ Bowing is part of education, which is very important in Japan. Some people think this little guy is doing push-ups or just lying down. We always thought it was some "we're not worthy" thing.When you meet your favorite celebrity.
๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธPresumed meaning: Headache. Actual meaning: Facepalm! That's right, this helpful emoji is meant to indicate embarrassment or frustration, with yourself and others.You forgot your keys at the office. A Friday night.
๐Ÿ’ซAlthough this emoji looks like a shooting star or comet, it actually means "dizziness," just like seeing stars! We still think of it as more like a shooting star, and it's often used as such.To wish your friend a happy birthday and let him know that he is a star.
๐Ÿ’จThere's no way: this emoji looks rude. But the meaning of the emoji is not what you think! It's called a "run away" emoji, as in a speeding car or a running person.When you run out to meet your friends for coffee. Just be sure to include a little person running alongside him so they don't get the wrong idea.
๐Ÿ’—There are many heart emojis and they come in all colors. But the meanings of the emojis can be confusing. This is the "growing heart" (you can see the lines around it as it grows in size).When you discover the true meaning ofNataland your heart grows three sizes.
๐Ÿ’“This emoji means "beating heart", and you can see the little sound waves coming out of it if you look closely!Stay still, my heart! When your heart skips a beat or someone makes it beat faster, this is the emoji to use.
๐Ÿ’žTwo hearts, beating together... no. How about if they revolve around each other? That is what this emoji symbolizes.Think of a cartoon character with hearts dancing around their heads. And you.
๐Ÿ’•The meaning of the โ€œtwo heartsโ€ emoji is quite simple. One heart is you and the other heart is someone you love.When your best friend or partner goes with you somewhere they don't like it, just because you asked them to.
๐Ÿ•ดThis emoji might be the most mysterious emoji ever. He is a little man, dressed in a suit... levitating. However. If you're a fan of ska, you might recognize this floating guy as the rude boy exclamation point found on The Specials records. What can we say, Japan loves ska. Do we know what it means? Absolutely not.When you want to take it, take it, take it.
๐Ÿ’ฏThe 100 emoji technically means "100 points," but it's often used as 100%.Your friend asks you if you want to go buy an ice cream. This also leaves open the option of getting 100 sundaes.
๐Ÿ•ณThis emoji is a hole. Imagine a cartoon character quickly drawing a circle on the ground and jumping into it. Or imagine yourself doing this if you often have your foot in your mouth.When you're telling the story of the time you tripped over your shoelaces, reached down to tie them, and ripped your pants, all on the first date. The hole is what you wish was there to swallow you.
๐Ÿ’ขSome emoji meanings are clear and obvious, others are like this one, which apparently means "anger." If you're a fan of the anime or manga, you might recognize this symbol as the popping veins on the forehead of someone absolutely on fire with rage.Send it to that friend who is bothering you so you can watch that long anime.
๐ŸฅThis emoji looks like a flower, but its name is "swirl fish cake." In Japan, mashed fish is shaped into a log and cut into cakes calledkamaboko. Now you have a new emoji and a new dish to try!Use it to document your journey through the city, trying to locate akamaboko.
๐ŸคGovernment buildings look different everywhere, so we had no idea this was the "mail" emoji. But we're all for things that support the USPS, so use this emoji today!When you send Christmas gifts but you want to confuse your relatives.
๐Ÿ—ผAs Eiffel is to Paris, this tower is to Tokyo. In fact, it was inspired by the design of La Tour Eiffel and is the second tallest structure in Japan.When you visit Paris! Or Tokyo. Or Vegas.
โ™จNot every place in the world is lucky enough to be blessed with natural hot springs, but the volcanic country of Japan definitely is! This emoji is the symbol of hot springs. We feel a little more relaxed just looking at it.When you finally splurge and buy that hot tub.
๐ŸŽThis cute jellyfish emoji is actually a wind chime emoji! Wind chimes like this one are very common in Japan.Send it to your partner as part of your Japan vacation campaign.
๐Ÿ“ฒWe honestly don't know why this one exists. There is already a cell phone emoji, called โ€œcell phone emojiโ€. This is called the "arrow cell phone". Didn't your mom say pointing was rude?When you call but they don't answer.
๐Ÿ”ฐThis little chevron is the Japanese symbol for beginners; New drivers should put one in their car. Is calledshoshinshamark, and is the sign of a beginner.Definitely give those new skates you bought in quarantine a pat.
โžฐAh, the curly lace. Seriously, that's the name. It is possibly also the meaning of the emoji. We don't know either.Wingardium Leviosa?
โžฟAh, the curly double loop. This one has โ€œon and onโ€ vibes.When you're in the longest meeting of your life. Isn't it lunch time?
ใ€ฝKaraoke is popular in Japan, and that little M emoji is the part change mark, saying it's time for the next singer!To organize that karaoke night you were looking forward to.
๐Ÿ†–This emoji is confusing at first glance, but it actually represents the words No Good.When you're so busy that you definitely can't make it to 2 p.m. m. call.
โญ•The โ€œhollow red circleโ€ emoji. This is another emoji meaning that got lost in translation; in Japan, the circle is used as an alternative to the check mark to indicate that something is correct. Perhaps it is the color red that gives it bad connotations.When your friend's message contains a typo, give them memories of elementary school with this cute red circle.
๐Ÿ”Digital security is important, and this โ€œpen lockedโ€ emoji is an abbreviation for a file or document that is securely locked.After digitally signing that agreement.

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The guide (even more complete) on the meanings of the emojis

Despite its similarity to words like "emotion" and "emoticon", the word "emoji" is actually a Japanese word.suitcaseof two words: "e", which means image and "moji", which means character. The resemblance is just a coincidence. Just like similar-sounding words in different languages, emojis appear differently on different devices, and confusion can still arise. If you're stuck with an emoji that's not on our list, there's only one place to go:Emojipedia. This site not only shows what each invented emoji looks like on each type of device and platform, but also contains a brief explanation of their meaning, a history and related emojis, as well as a copy and paste box. It's a go-to (second best) for all your emoji questions, so you don't accidentally send your boss something more suitable for group chat. In case the damage has already been done, here it is.How to unsubscribe from an iMessage.

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