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 When her birthday rolled around, Martinez’s Facebook page lit up with festive emoji and loving wishes. Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle, "A joyous life lost: One death amid millions exemplifies COVID's toll," 14 Mar. 2021 There will be a vaccine-supportive emoji on Twitter, custom content on Facebook, a campaign among TikTok creators and within the gaming community. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, "Want to hug again? Go to church? 'It's up to you,' Ad Council says in $500M campaign to promote COVID-19 vaccines," 25 Feb. 2021 One of my critics, an arch right-winger who said no to an interview, will applaud in the comments section with an emoji of an American flag. Bill Donahue, Washington Post, "This Rural Liberal Set Out to Talk to His Pro-Trump Neighbors," 24 Feb. 2021 Days later, after racking up as many as 102 comments and 35 emoji, the thread petered out. Washington Post, "D.C.’s 911 center saw a spike in suspicious-activity calls after Capitol riot," 19 Feb. 2021 The fresh round of emoji are available now through developer and public beta previews of iOS 14.5, and will roll out to all users as part of an update this spring. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "Apple updates its syringe emoji as COVID-19 vaccines roll out," 18 Feb. 2021 The scoring spree prompted Bruins athletic director Martin Jarmond, who made the trip to Seattle, to tweet a frozen emoji reflecting the ice in Juzang’s veins. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, "Johnny Juzang’s career-best 32 points lead UCLA to win at Washington," 13 Feb. 2021 Some Reddit users egged others on when GameStop shares subsequently went into reverse, using an emoji to describe the stock as a rocket to the moon. Joe Wallace, WSJ, "GameStop Stock Jumps to New Record," 25 Jan. 2021 One person sends the high-five emoji; then the other person responds with the hand. Julie Beck, The Atlantic, "What It’s Like to Carry On a Tradition With a Friend Who Can’t Remember It," 22 Jan. 2021

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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Statistics for emoji

Last Updated

22 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Emoji.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emoji. Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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