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 apparently cheerful emoji seems to correspond (so far) with Trump’s feelings about the historic and unprecedented get-together. Steve Annear, BostonGlobe.com, "Twitter unveils an emoji for the Trump-Kim Jong Un summit — and not everyone’s a fan," 11 June 2018 June says, in a line delivery that embodies the 😐 emoji. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 Episode 8 Will Make You Rage," 6 June 2018 Most encouraging within this list, however, are the emoji that better represent people with disabilities. Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, "The 2019 emoji candidates include that flamingo you’ve been looking for," 1 June 2018 While there were many people tossing around the goat emoji for White on Twitter, White sits third on the U.S. all-time list for most Winter Olympic gold medals. Chris Chavez, SI.com, "Wednesday Olympic Daily Digest: How Shaun White Enters The History Books With His Third Gold Medal," 14 Feb. 2018 While features such as winking 3-D emoji and screen-time limits for your apps might take much of the attention when the software arrives, iOS 12 is a major step forward in one other crucial area: smartphone security. David Nield, WIRED, "All the Ways iOS 12 Will Make Your iPhone More Secure," 8 July 2018 The pair even performed a small part of the epic dance together, which Netanyahu shared on Twitter with a chicken emoji and the Israeli flag. Jennifer Earl, Fox News, "Netanyahu does chicken dance with Netta Barzilai to celebrate Israeli singer's Eurovision win," 16 May 2018 Volunteers and community members are making 1,200 pillows featuring graphical emoji for children held in three detention centers in South Florida. Yutao Chen, Sun-Sentinel.com, "For detained immigrant children: pillows stuffed with love," 13 July 2018 Jenner replied, adding a few emojis at the end of her comment. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Kylie Jenner reveals on Instagram she removed lip filler," 10 July 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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Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for emoji

The first known use of emoji was in 1997

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