emo·​ji | \ ē-ˈmō-jē How to pronounce emoji (audio) \
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, email, 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 emoji really isn’t a modern concept, simply a pictograph rendered in a digital form. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 27 Apr. 2022 But in a group chat, the emoji can create a flood of individual messages and notifications, which can become annoying. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 14 Apr. 2022 Her sister, Kim, commented with a few chapel emojis while Barker also commented with an emoji of a bride and groom. Andrea Towers, EW.com, 6 Apr. 2022 More: If someone is grieving, is an emoji really enough? Melissa Ruggieri, USA TODAY, 25 Feb. 2022 Another mentioned focus week, and posted an emoji of a rollercoaster. Tristan Bove, Fortune, 14 Apr. 2022 The Kylie Cosmetics founder finished with a prayer-hand emoji. Alexis Gaskin, Glamour, 22 Mar. 2022 The new update also includes 37 new emoji that iPhone and iPad users can use right now, a new Siri voice, and anti-stalking features for AirTags. Chris Smith, BGR, 19 Mar. 2022 On the Mac side, macOS Monterey 12.3 also adds support for Universal Control and new emoji. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, 14 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Emoji.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emoji. Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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