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Learn to write like a tech-savvy caveman with this Emoji dictionary

emoji, computing
Human linguistics began with pictograms. At some point, a particularly enterprising Cro-Magnon decided to dip his finger into the ashes of a smoldering fire — ouch! — and wipe it against the cave wall; thus, language was born. Soon, this new form of communication (a step up from the previous method of indecipherable grunts) began to evolve alongside the creatures that had invented it; in Asia and Mesopotamia, crude drawings of animals soon progressed into logograms and hieroglyphs, and eventually into fully realized alphabets.

Language is always moving forward; venerable institutions like Oxford and Merriam-Webster consistently update their dictionaries to include new words and turns of phrase — for example, this February’s edition of the Merrian-Webster dictionary includes “net neutrality,” “binge-watch,” and “truther”. Recently, though, a funny trend has appeared: Language is also moving backwards. Emoticons, popularized in Japan in the 1980s, use computer-generated punctuation marks to express emotions. As computing devices — specifically, smartphones — became more powerful, a more complex set of pictograms arose, called “Emojis.”

Emojis are tiny, colorful images, made to represent specific objects, emotions, or concepts. Currently, the standard Emoji library (supported on several mobile and desktop operating systems) consists of more than 1,000 different emoticons. Some of these emoticons look extremely similar, especially for those new to the concept, or for those with impaired vision. To that end, we’ve decided to put together a short Emoji dictionary, so you’ll never have to wonder exactly what the younger generation is trying to convey.

Emojis look different depending upon which platform you’re using; since iOS and Android are the most prevalent, we’ve chosen to include images for those two. Visit Emojipedia for a full list of Emojis by platform (links located at the bottom).





This Emoji is smiling. It’s happy!
This Emoji is also happy, and possibly excited.
This Emoji is even happier than the happy Emojis preceding it.
This Emoji appears to be smiling for a photograph, perhaps?
This Emoji is laughing.
This Emoji is laughing so hard that a bead of sweat is rolling down its face. Maybe it’s a bit awkward now.
This Emoji is either laughing extremely hard or crying tears of joy. Possibly both.
This Emoji is rolling on the floor laughing (ROFL).
This Emoji is smiling; the iOS version seems to imply contentedness, though the Google version isn’t as detailed.
This Emoji is also happy and contented, despite the mysterious disappearance of its eyebrows.
 This Emoji has a halo. Maybe it’s in heaven? Maybe it just performed a good deed. Who knows?
 This Emoji is smiling, but deep down it’s not so sure.
This Emoji is smiling upside down. Use this Emoji only while riding roller coasters.
This Emoji only has one eye.
Or it’s winking.
This Emoji is… asleep? Relieved? Concerned because it’s starting to rain?
This Emoji is in love — probably with the CoCo.
This Emoji is actually eating one of the heart-eyes of the Emoji above, in hopes that its missing eye grows back. Metal.
This Emoji is making a reference to Rick and Morty. Emoji references are always out of control.
This Emoji is pretending to be a duck. QUACK!
This Emoji fell asleep while pretending to be a duck.
This Emoji smells something delicious and mouthwatering.
This Emoji is paralyzed on one side of his body. It’s very sad.
This Emoji is in the middle of a KISS cover band performance.
This Emoji is obviously a dog. [Pant. Pant.]
 This is a premium Emoji. Download it for just $1.99!
 This Emoji loves doing jazz hands. Jazz hands!
This Emoji represents Michael “Squints” Palledorous from The Sandlot.
This Emoji is blind, but still loving life.
This Emoji is a clown. In case you need to freak people out.
This Emoji is a cowboy. It only works if your phone senses that you’re on horseback.
This Emoji thinks it’s smooth.
This Emoji does not think the above Emoji is smooth.
This Emoji is sad, because its eyebrows disappeared — again.
This Emoji got into the trash while you were out of the house. Shame on you, Emoji!
This Emoji just saw something horrifying. Or it’s sleepishly lazy.
This Emoji is tired of hearing about your Crossfit regimen.
This Emoji is unhappy.
This Emoji is even more unhappy.
This Emoji is unhappy, because it has boomerangs for eyes.
 This Emoji is about to cry. Aw.
This Emoji has been traumatized. Treat it with care.
This Emoji is extremely frustrated, because he can’t figure out what all the other Emojis mean.
This Emoji is so mad that he’s blowing steam out of nonexistent nostrils.
This Emoji is gathering energy to activate Super Sayian 2. Stay tuned for several more episodes.
Emoji MAD. Emoji SMASH!
 That’s not an Emoji. It’s a pig’s nose.
 A software update is available for EmojiBot. Restart now?
This Emoji means “no comment.” Or, it means Iron Man. Either way.
This Emoji is surprised.
This Emoji is surprised and a little bit dismayed.
This Emoji just caught its significant other in bed with an ASCII face, and it feels betrayed.
This Emoji is singing. Probably Coldplay’s Yellow.
This Emoji is drunk. Go home, Emoji.
This Emoji is unconscious. Take it to an Emoji Center to have it revived.
You don’t want to know what this Emoji was doing before you walked in.
This Emoji is getting the Violet Bauregarde treatment.
Everything is blue for this Emoji, and himself, and everybody around. Cause he ain’t got nobody to listen.
This Emoji is nervous.
This Emoji is crying.
This Emoji is… crying harder?
This Emoji is drooling. Maybe it smelled some food?
This Emoji is crying even harder than the other crying Emojis. Life must be hard when you have no body and no limbs.
This Emoji is either sweating or getting rained on.
This Emoji is blowing snot bubbles in its sleep. That’s not a joke.
 This Emoji is also asleep, but has the common courtesy to keep its snot to itself.
 This Emoji is worried about a safe falling on its head, Looney Tunes-style.
This Emoji is deep in contemplative thought.
This Emoji definitely doesn’t think that dress makes your butt look big!
This Emoji is grimacing. Not smiling. Stop using it to represent a smile — that’s confusing.
This Emoji had an unfortunate encounter with Jigsaw.
This Emoji is about to throw up.
This Emoji is frustrated because his nose is a ghost.
This Emoji is visiting Beijing.
This Emoji has a fever, and the only prescription is… more cowbell.
This Emoji is slowly becoming a mummy. How scary!

Other Emojis




This Emoji is a big, heaping pile of… chocolate soft-serve. Yeah!
This Emoji is for when you want to throw up a gang sign, but you don’t actually know any gang signs.
This Emoji means “bless up.” Use it exclusively while listening to DJ Khaled’s music.
This is the Emoji to use when you hit someone with a nasty burn, or release your debut mixtape.
This Emoji is just a regular old eggplant. There are no other possible interpretations.
This Emoji means “butt.”
This Emoji is… some kind of rice.. thing? Possibly related to Naruto?
We have literally no idea what this Emoji represents. A spork with a bandage on it?
This Emoji is for keepin’ it 100 — it’s not for player haters.
This Emoji is confused, and it’s also some sort of tornado.

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Nick Hastings
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Nick is a Portland native and a graduate of Saint Mary's College of California with a Bachelor's of Communication. Nick's…
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