emoji

noun emo·ji \ ē-ˈmō-jē \

Definition of emoji

plural emoji or emojis
: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

Recent Examples of emoji from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of emoji

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


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