Express Yourself with my Basic Guide to Emoji Meanings

Emoji is an exciting way to express yourself and add more colour to your text messages and emails. As mobile technology has developed and market penetration has increased, so too has our reliance on this unique language. It is now possible to have whole conversations simply using Emoji. Today there are more than 100 characters in the Emoji language and it is increasing every year. 2015 was a real breakthrough when the Oxford dictionary recognised ? as a legit word meaning “face with tears of joy”.

The beauty of Emoji is that it is not bound by geography, age, race or religion. It is a truly international form of communication that everyone has the potential to understand on some level. That is because it is comprised of mostly facial feature and symbols common to the simple human. Every symbol represents either an emotion, attitude, state of mind, place or thing. In 2015 Apple iPhone also released the Diversity Emoji keyboard to include a far greater range of expressions in different skin tones and also more family combinations in a nod to the LGBT community.

Despite the growing prevalence of Emoji not everyone is fluent. I am often surprised when even the most avid mobile user confuses icons. I have created this basic guide to help you brush up on your Emoji skills. But.. if you think you already know Emoji well enough, go ahead and take this emoji quiz.


Face Blowing a Kiss

Emoji Kissy Emoji Kissy Samsung Emoji Kissy Android

When to use it: Use it when you wish to send someone a kiss. It can be a kiss in the romantic sense as well as a friendly light-hearted kiss for a relative or a friend.

Biggest misconception: It does not mean you are in love with someone. It also does not mean a pash or french kiss or any sexual position.

For example: Hey hunny, was great to see you tonight and take care ?

Face With Tears of Joy

Emoji Tears of Joy Android Emoji Tears of Joy Samsung Emoji Tears of Joy

When to use it: This Emoji represents a face that has tears of happiness. Use it when you have laughed so hard you cried, or when you cry from being happy.

Biggest misconception: Some people think this Emoji is crying tears of sadness which it is not. Neither are those beads of sweat from working out.

For example: ROFL ? you crack me up

Pig Face

Emoji Pig Emoji Pig Samsung Emoji Pig Android

When to use it: When you want to indicate someone is being pig-like or greedy.

Biggest misconception: It is not to be used in the literal sense, when you are referring to the actual animal called the pig.

For example: Did you seriously eat all that pasta ?

Shaved Ice

Emoji Shaved Ice Emoji Shaved Ice Samsung Emoji Shaved Ice Android

When to use it: When you fancy some shaved ice, especially with syrup, or when you have just eaten some.

Biggest misconception: Many people think this represents ice cream but it doesn’t.

For example: Wanna go for ? tonight?

Smiling Face with Heart Shaped Eyes

Emoji Heart Eyes Emoji Heart Eyes Samsung Emoji Heart Eyes Android

When to use it: Use it when you are looking at something with love or when you are in love with a person or a thing.

Biggest misconception: It does not mean that you a blind by love, nor would you use it to represent a person that is being controlled by their partner (aka pussy whipped).

For example: r u going to cook prawns again ? yummy!

Fish Cake with Swirl Design

Emoji Fishcake Samsung Emoji Fish Cake Emoji Fish Cake Android

When to use it: This is a Japanese fish cake that you might see in a bowl or Asian soup. Use it when you feel like eating it or when you want to suggest someone looks sweet but lacks substance like a fish cake.

Biggest misconception: Many people confuse this to be an animal or sea creature.

For example: That restaurant is so throwback, they didn’t even put ? in the noodles.

Tired Face

Emoji Tired Emoji Tired Samsung Emoji Tired Android

When to use it: This Emoji shows a weary face with tightly shut eyes and an open mouth. Use it when you are dying of fatigue or when you’ve just had enough of the situation.

Biggest misconception: This face does not represent anger or pain.

For example: I cannot go home until i finish this report ? ttyl

Persevering Face

Emoji Persevering Emoji Persevering Samsung Emoji Persevering Android

When to use it: This poor Emoji has closed eyes and his eyes are scrunched up. Use this when you feel like you’re at the end of your thread, frustrated or close to tears. Your feeling could be caused by either a person or a situation.

Biggest misconception: This is not to indicate pain or a medical condition.

For example: u never answer ur phone ? WTF!?! ?

Disappointed Face

Emoji Disapointed Emoji Disapointed Samsung Emoji Disapointed Adroid

When to use it: When you feel like someone or a situation has let you down, or things have not turn out as expected.

Biggest misconception: This face is often incorrectly used to represent tired or fatigued.

For example: Jeez Uncle ? ? you promised!

Cat Face with Wry Smile

Emoji Cat Face Emoji Cat Face Samsung Emoji Cat Face Android

When to use it: When you have been up to some mischief or wish to express a smirk, plus you love cats.

Biggest misconception: it is not to be used to condescend or put down cats, or if you think someone looks like a cat.

For example: dunno ?

Information Desk Person

Emoji Girl Emoji Girl Samsung Emoji Girl Android

When to use it: This girl looks like a waitress holding an invisible tray of drinks and can be used in a variety of ways, either to express a service mentality, a hair flick, or in a sarcastic way to indicate a more sassy attitude.

Biggest misconception: People often interpret this one too literally as representing a girl just saying hello.

For example: No worries luv, I’m  ?

Grimacing Face

Emoji Grimace Emoji Grimace Samsung Emoji Grimace Android

When to use it: This Emoji has his teeth bared, use it when you wish to acknowledge an unfortunate or silly mistake, or when an awkward situation has arisen. To be used when you are admitting fault and wish forgiveness.

Biggest misconception: Do not use this if you wish to say something about your teeth or to convey a smile or happy feeling. This Emoji contains strong feeling so use appropriately!

For example: Next time I will clean the dishes ?

White Smiling Face

Emoji Hehe Emoji Hehe Samsung Emoji Hehe Android

When to use it: This is one of the original Emoji’s and literally translate as “he he” or a sweet cute giggle. With its happy eyes and rosy cheeks, use it when you wish to smile genuinely or cutely at someone.

Biggest misconception: this is not a face blushing from embarrassment.

For example: For sure ☺️ LOL

Emoji Without Mouth

Emoji Silent Emoji Silent Samsung Emoji Silent Android

When to use it: This Emoji has no mouth and never speaks. Use it when you are at a loss for words or you have so much emotion it is better not to say anything.

Biggest misconception: Often people mistake this to represent a mute person, or when they have no emotion and are a blank canvas.

For example: FFS ?

Reminder Ribbon

Emoji Ribbon Emoji Ribbon Twitter Emoji Ribbon Android

When to use it: Use this when you wish to show support for a cause or group.

Biggest misconception: This Emoji is often confused as a sports medal or ribbon, or even a fashion ribbon.

For example: ? i donated today

Face with Look of Triumph

Emoji Triumph Emoji Triumph Samsung Emoji Triumph Android

When to use it: This Emoji is snorting after accomplishing something great. Use it when you wish to rub somebody’s face in it, or you want to show off an achievement with a hint of disdain.

Biggest misconception: Most people confuse this as representing anger or infuriation.

For example: I own it


The Emoji languages becomes most interesting when you combine characters! Here are a few of the most popular combinations and their meanings:

Emoji Kissy Emoji Heart Eyes

I love you and want to kiss you!

Emoji Monkey Speak Emoji Monkey Eye Emoji Monkey Ear

Speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil.

Emoji MartiniEmoji BunnyEmoji Party Pooper Emoji Grimace

It’s Friday #letsgetwasted

Emoji Statue LibertyEmoji Yellow CabEmoji USAEmoji Kissy

I love America xox

Emoji CutleryEmoji PizzaEmoji Slightly SmileEmoji Wine

Let’s go to our local, don’t feel like cooking…

If you know any other commonly used combinations or want to request a translation, just let me know in the comments box.