emo·​ji | \ē-ˈmō-jē \
plural emoji or emojis

Definition of emoji 

: any of various small images, symbols, or icons used in text fields in electronic communication (as in text messages, e-mail, and social media) to express the emotional attitude of the writer, convey information succinctly, communicate a message playfully without using words, etc. The function of emoji, as [emoji developer Shigetaka] Kurita describes it—adding subtle emotional emphasis to a sentence in text—isn't too different from that of emoticons, the frowny and smiley faces that people have been making out of punctuation since the mid-1990s.— Britt Peterson — compare emoticon

Examples of emoji in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The new flat-shoe emoji more accurately reflects my own footwear choices, too. Chloe Malle, WSJ, "Why Smart, Chic Women Are Abandoning High Heels (Forever)," 8 Nov. 2018 The new emoji will also come to watchOS and macOS through software updates on those platforms. Chris Welch, The Verge, "iOS 12.1 coming October 30th with group FaceTime, dual-SIM support, and ‘beautygate’ fix," 29 Oct. 2018 Elliott kept her reaction simple, but got her point across all the same by using the fire emoji multiple times in her tweet. Sam Tornow, Billboard, "Missy Elliott and Zedd Tweet Support For Stunning Covers of Their Songs on 'The Four'," 13 July 2018 The hashtag has had its own Twitter emoji and has even led to Man City fans wearing inflatable shark hats to games. SI.com, "6 Big Name Footballers Who Are Definitely Worth Following on Social Media," 28 Apr. 2018 Police say a laughing emoji was used on the Snapchat video. Josh Magness, star-telegram, "Teens were 'laughing hysterically' as they terrorized 1-year-old with a Taser, cops say," 10 July 2018 Fans will immediately recognize the emoji as one that both Ariana and Pete got inked on their fingers. Karina Hoshikawa, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande Teases a New Cloud Fragrance on Instagram," 12 June 2018 Scientists rejoice, there are finally emoji for a test tube, petri dish and DNA. Joey Morona, cleveland.com, "From redheads to a bagel: All the new emoji coming to iOS, Android this year," 8 Feb. 2018 Other emojis in the new batch include a peacock, a cupcake (how was there no cupcake emoji before?), lots of scientific equipment like lab coats and goggles, and a new range of superhero/villain emojis of all skin tones. Alexis Nedd, Cosmopolitan, "New Emojis Are Coming and They Finally Have Natural Hair," 8 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'emoji.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of emoji

1997, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for emoji

borrowed from Japanese, literally, "pictograph," from e "picture, drawing" + moji "letter, character"

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Statistics for emoji

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for emoji

The first known use of emoji was in 1997

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