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

Two other fans who also praised her pic include her longtime trainer, Ben Bruno, who added a hands raised and fire emoji, and MJ Day, the editor of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue who left a string of kissy face emojis. PEOPLE.com, "Kate Upton Models Sexy Swimsuit 7 Months After Giving Birth: 'Things Are Finally Heating Up'," 6 June 2019 There are currently more than 2,800 approved emojis, and some 230 new emojis were approved in February 2019. Marcy Oster, sun-sentinel.com, "Organization is working to make a Torah emoji happen," 5 June 2019 There are a few cool new features, such as Windows Sandbox and support for the complex kaomoji emoji. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft's Windows 10 May 2019 Update can be downloaded now: Here's how," 8 Apr. 2019 Desert Dreamin’ ✨ a first look at the master bedroom at #thatdeserthouse 🌵🏠 where’s my tumbleweed emoji?!? Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "That Instagram-Famous Joshua Tree Home is Finally on Airbnb," 8 Mar. 2019 His flirty comment, which included a heart eye emoji, got a huge reaction from fans, but JLo has insisted that there’s no drama between her, her ex and her new fiancé, Alex Rodriguez. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Jennifer Lopez Reveals Diddy Apologized to Alex Rodriguez After Leaving a Flirty Instagram Comment," 11 Apr. 2019 Sandberg gave the testimonial equivalent of the shruggy emoji. Peter Kafka, Recode, "Jack Dorsey survived his grueling day in D.C.," 5 Sep. 2018 Romeo simply captioned the photo with a red heart emoji. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Victoria Beckham's 45th Birthday Party Was a Chic Family Affair and I'm Sad I Wasn't Invited," 19 Apr. 2019 Fellow singer-songwriter Julia Michaels signified her approval with a red heart emoji. Abby Jones, Billboard, "Shawn Mendes Posts Pic With Hailey Baldwin and Fans Are Instantly Shipping Them," 4 Apr. 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.

See More

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"

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about emoji

Dictionary Entries near emoji








Statistics for emoji

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for emoji

The first known use of emoji was in 1997

See more words from the same year

Comments on emoji

What made you want to look up emoji? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!