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 clues on social media have been slim, but Skepta did post a photo with Naomi in October 2017 captioned with a heart emoji. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Naomi Campbell Shuts Down Pregnancy Speculation with an Epic Bikini Instagram," 1 Aug. 2018 Followers caught another glimpse of the baby's new bling in a photo Kylie shared later, featuring Stormi taking a nap on Kylie's chest, which the new mom captioned with a pink heart emoji. Andrea Park, Allure, "Kylie Jenner Is Getting Mommy-Shamed for Piercing 5-Month-Old Stormi's Ears," 12 July 2018 In May this year, my colleague James Vincent added a peculiar looking butterfly as a custom emoji on Vox Media’s Slack. Verge Staff, The Verge, "The best memes of 2018, according to The Verge staff," 27 Dec. 2018 When women searched through emoji options to craft the perfect visual message, there used to be a glaring absence: a flat feminine shoe. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "With This New Ballet Flat Emoji, Women Finally Have a Comfortable Digital Shoe," 9 Nov. 2018 While the Prince of Wales swayed with Ghana's First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, Camilla went all dance emoji on the country's president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Camilla Parker Bowles Proves She's THE Queen of the Dance Floor in Hilarious New Clip," 8 Nov. 2018 The recipients responded joyfully, sending each other congratulations and emoji of big red hearts. Marissa J. Lang, Washington Post, "Eight drivers, five days: A migrant’s emotional journey to find her daughter," 11 July 2018 In the months since, Wardle has worked on and off to deconstruct that emoji mystery. Andy Greenberg, WIRED, "Apple's China-Friendly Censorship Caused an iPhone-Crashing Bug," 10 July 2018 The speedy point guard confirmed the news Friday afternoon on Twitter by sending out a wizard emoji. Jordan Mcpherson, miamiherald, "This former UF basketball star received a summer league invite after going undrafted," 22 June 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

23 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for emoji

The first known use of emoji was in 1997

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a complex dispute or argument

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