How They Are Different From Emoticons And What The Most Popular Emojis Mean

How They Are Different From Emoticons And What The Most Popular Emojis Mean

Emojis are now an inseparable part of communication on social media. People often use emojis during written conversations to better express their emotions. From Jack-O-Lantern to the smiling face with heart-eyes, there are 3,664 emojis available under Unicode version 15.0, the version of the Unicode Standard released on September 13, 2022. The Unicode Standard provides a number for every character, no matter what platform, device, application or language, and has been adopted by all modern software providers. Since text messages often leave room for ambiguity, emojis express emotions better. 

What are emojis?

Emojis are digital pictograms used widely throughout social media, texting, email and other computer-mediated communications to express a range of objects and ideas, including human emotions, animals, foods, flags and buildings, among others. 

Origin of the word ‘Emoji’

The word ’emoji’ is the portmanteau of two Japanese words: e and moji, where ‘e’ means ‘picture’ and ‘moji’ means ‘written character’.

The Unicode Consortium is responsible for standardisation of the codes associated with emojis.

Difference between Emoticons and Emojis

Emoticons were created by American commercial designer Harvey Ball in 1969. He had designed his “smiley” as a distinctive yellow button, which went on to be known as emoticons. According to new research, the emotional, or non-verbal impact of a message on social media may be affected by the colour of the emoticon used. 

However, there is often confusion between emoticons and emojis, both new-age hieroglyphic languages. Hieroglyphic is a system of writing that uses pictures instead of words. 

Emoticons are punctuation marks, letters, and numbers used to create pictorial icons which generally display an emotion or sentiment, according to Britannica. Also, the portmanteau ’emoticon’ is derived from the words: emotional icon. 

Emojis, a slightly more recent invention, are pictographs of faces, objects, and symbols. These include yellow cartoon faces with various expressions, along with families, buildings, animals, food objects, mathematical symbols, sports objects, among others. 

ALSO READ | Social Media Emoticons Need More Colours To Avoid Being Misunderstood, An Expert Warns

What the most popular emojis mean

Some of the most popular emojis are red heart ❤️, Jack-O-Lantern 🎃, smiling face with smiling eyes 😊, skull 💀, sparkles ✨, saluting face, melting face 🫠, fire 🔥, ghost 👻 and face with tears of joy 😂, among others. 

The red heart ❤️ emoji is used to express love. A similar emoji with a black tint is also available. Though it is used to represent the heart suit in a deck of playing cards, one can use it to express love as well. 

The Jack-O-Lantern 🎃 emoji is very popular, and is used frequently in the month of October, because of Halloween. A Jack-O-Lantern is an orange pumpkin carved into the shape of a face. 

The saluting face emoji 🫡 is a yellow face with its right hand saluting, and is used as a sign of respect. 


Saluting Face Emoji (Photo: Emojipedia)
Saluting Face Emoji (Photo: Emojipedia)

Melting face is a newly introduced emoji, and is a yellow smiley face melting into a puddle. According to Emojipedia, the eyes and mouth slip down the face, and a distorted smile is maintained. This signifies sarcasm. The emoji could also be used when one wants to express the difficulty of a task. People also use it to depict extreme heat, and to metaphorically talk about shame, embarrassment or a sense of dread.,


Melting Face Emoji (Photo: Emojipedia)
Melting Face Emoji (Photo: Emojipedia)

The pleading face 🥺 emoji is a yellow face with furrowed eyebrows, a small frown, and large ‘puppy’ eyes, and is used to express ‘begging or pleading’. One can also use the emoji when they are touched by something. 

The smiling face with hearts 🥰 emoji is a yellow face with smiling eyes, a closed smile, rosy cheeks and three hearts floating around its head. The emoji expresses happy and affectionate feelings.

The smiling face with a tear 🥲 is becoming increasingly popular. It is a yellow face with open eyes, a thin-closed smile, and a single tear falling from one of its eyes. It is mostly used to express sarcasm, especially when one pretends to be happy despite being in a difficult situation. 


Smiling Face With A Tear Emoji (Photo: Emojipedia)
Smiling Face With A Tear Emoji (Photo: Emojipedia)

The slightly smiling face 🙂 is mostly used to express something sinister or sarcastic, and has a patronising and passive-aggressive tone. 

The classic smiley, turned upside down 🙃 or the flipped version of the slightly smiling face is used to convey irony, sarcasm or a sense of passive aggression.

The emojis for animals, nature and weather are also frequently used. Of these, the most popular are three wise monkey emojis. These are the see-no-evil monkey, speak-no-evil monkey, and hear-no-evil monkey. 

The see-no-evil monkey 🙈 could have different meanings, including a feeling of shame, shyness or disbelief. 

The hear-no-evil monkey 🙉 can be used in a playful way to express the fact that one does not believe what they heard. 

The speak-no-evil monkey 🙊 could be used to express something mischievous or to make the promise of keeping a secret. 

Cat emojis are popular among cat lovers. These include the grinning cat 😺, grinning cat with smiling eyes 😸, cat with tears of joy 😹, smiling cat with heart-eyes 😻, cat with a wry smile 😼, kissing cat 😽, weary cat 🙀, crying cat 😿, and pouting cat 😾. 

There are several emojis to depict social revolutions such as Black Lives Matter ✊🏿 and LGBT Pride 🏳️‍🌈. 

Emojis are available for different festivals as well, including Chinese New Year 🐲, Christmas 🎅🤶🎄 and Thanksgiving 🦃, among others.

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