emo·​ji ē-ˈmō-jē How to pronounce emoji (audio)
plural emoji or emojis
: 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
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Examples of emoji in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Zolciak added two red hearts and a prayer emoji to the post. Julia Moore, Peoplemag, 26 Sep. 2023 In a video shared on TikTok and Instagram last week, Copeland told viewers that Apple has only a pink pointe-shoe emoji and encouraged them to sign her change.org petition asking for more color options. Alexandra Del Rosario, Los Angeles Times, 25 Sep. 2023 In fact, the – there’s a angry emoji all over the country. ABC News, 24 Sep. 2023 When scrolling through the substantial offering of emojis on Apple products, users will find a pink — and only pink — pair of pointe ballet shoes. Char Adams, NBC News, 22 Sep. 2023 He’s submitted several accepted emoji proposals to the Unicode Consortium. Jay Peters, The Verge, 20 Sep. 2023 Smiley emojis turned to winky ones, then to kissy ones. Joel Khalili, WIRED, 7 Sep. 2023 Unfortunately, Kevin didn't seem to be too impressed by the post, adding a middle finger emoji in response in the comment section. Escher Walcott, Peoplemag, 16 Sep. 2023 Instead, younger workers prefer to agree to their manager’s commands using the saluting face or handshake emoji. Orianna Rosa Royle, Fortune, 12 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'emoji.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1997, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of emoji was in 1997

Dictionary Entries Near emoji

Cite this Entry

“Emoji.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emoji. Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


plural emoji or emojis
: any of various small images, symbols, or icons used in electronic communication (as e-mail) to express the feelings or attitude of the writer or to present information concisely or playfully
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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