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, 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 That comment was topped off with an angry-faced emoji. al, "Alabama lawmaker wants longer summers, school boards push back," 5 Feb. 2020 Two black players on the team were also called the N-word and were sent an emoji of a gorilla. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "Michigan parent asked why he didn’t ‘stay in Mexico’ during meeting to address discrimination," 4 Feb. 2020 There were also protests at the game being played on Monday night, including an inventive banner from the fans inside the stadium, which read 'Monday??' with an emoji face being sick down the stand. SI.com, "St. Pauli vs Hamburg: Ultras Bust Out Pyrotechnic Show for Fiery Derby," 16 Sep. 2019 Maleah's biological father, Craig Davis, posted an image of the casket on Instagram, with multiple pink emoji hearts. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "Casket of 4-year-old Maleah Davis decorated with "My Little Pony" for upcoming funeral," 19 June 2019 The congresswoman retweeted the video along with an emoji of a bicep flexing. Amy Forliti, The Seattle Times, "Twitter dustup, apology not firsts for Minnesota Rep. Omar," 12 Feb. 2019 Expect the new emoji to be released to your mobile device in the fall. cleveland, "New emoji for 2020 include ninjas, the Italian hand gesture and gender-inclusive symbols," 30 Jan. 2020 On the first day of Kwanzaa, Twitter unveiled an emoji of the Kinara, a symbol of the seven-day celebration that holds seven red, black and green candles. Jasmine Aguilera, Time, "Twitter Got Its Kwanzaa Emoji Wrong—And People Noticed," 27 Dec. 2019 Underneath the BBC Radio 1 video of James and Cabello's conversation, Kensington Palace posted an eyes emoji. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton and Prince William Respond to Camila Cabello's Kensington Palace Pencil Theft," 27 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for emoji

Time Traveler

The first known use of emoji was in 1997

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Statistics for emoji

Last Updated

20 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Emoji.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emoji. Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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