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 In recognition of the pandemic, Apple’s next iPhone operating system will include an option to put a face mask on a personalized emoji. Michael Liedtke, BostonGlobe.com, "Apple previews new iPhone software, changes to Mac chips," 22 June 2020 The tweet, which also featured an emoji of a black fist and a misspelled Black Lives Matter hashtag, has since been removed and the account was suspended for violating Twitter’s manipulation and spam policy. oregonlive, "White supremacist group posing as Antifa called for violence online, Twitter says," 3 June 2020 However, using numbers is not allowed under those rules, and using pictures, like an emoji or ideogram, in a name is expressly forbidden. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Grimes says she and Elon Musk have tweaked their baby's name," 26 May 2020 The public can see the steak emoji tweets and the responses to undecided players who are intrigued every time OSU lands another high-level player. Stephen Means, cleveland, "Ben Christman is pushing hard to help Ohio State football land 5-stars Emeka Egbuka, JC Latham: Buckeyes Recruiting," 20 May 2020 In a classic doofus misstep, Mnuchin punctuated his tweet with a flag emoji apparently intended to display his patriotism. Steven Levy, Wired, "We Asked for Flying Cars. We Got Axl Rose's Twitter Spat," 8 May 2020 Not long after paparazzi photos emerged of their photoshoot, de Armas posted a carousel of the shots on her Instagram, captioned by the orange heart emoji. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "Ben Affleck & Ana De Armas Have Fired Up The Instagram PDA," 20 Mar. 2020 This brain network is activated by any stimulus that even suggests a person, such as a stick figure or emoji. Michaela Porubanova, The Conversation, "Humanizing the coronavirus as an invisible enemy is human nature," 22 May 2020 The tweet also included a few emojis (bunny, carrot, popcorn, etc.) and the presumptive release date, 2021. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, "LeBron James reveals ‘Space Jam 2’ logo, title, release date," 30 Apr. 2020

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

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Emoji.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emoji. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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