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 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 Viewers particularly loved one scene of the episode, where Dr. Shaun Murphy tries to physically demonstrate an emoji that Carly sent to him via text. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "'The Good Doctor' Fans Thought Monday's Episode Had the Best Scene of the Show so Far," 16 Nov. 2019 Garlic, falafel, round waffles: The new batch of food emoji has arrived. Taylor Kate Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: Houses saved from Kincade Fire by only a few feet," 5 Nov. 2019 Much of his Twitter feed is retweets of articles praising the two, at times accompanied by a Berkowitz addition of an emoji expressing joy. Ron Kampeas, sun-sentinel.com, "Who is Avi Berkowitz, the Kushner adviser stepping in to work on Israeli-Palestinian peace?," 10 Sep. 2019 But Twitter users Thursday noticed an error— the Kinara emoji only had five candles in red, blue and green. Jasmine Aguilera, Time, "Twitter Got Its Kwanzaa Emoji Wrong—And People Noticed," 27 Dec. 2019 And in October, Apple removed the Taiwanese-flag emoji from its keyboard on its products in Hong Kong, presumably to placate authorities in Beijing and preserve its access to the Chinese market. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 5 Dec. 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

6 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Emoji.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emoji?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=e&file=emoji_1. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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