An emoji (/ɪˈm/ ih-MOH-jee; plural emoji or emojis;[1] Japanese: 絵文字, Japanese pronunciation: [emoꜜʑi]) is a pictogram, logogram, ideogram, or smiley embedded in text and used in electronic messages and web pages. The primary function of modern emoji is to fill in emotional cues otherwise missing from typed conversation as well as to replace words as part of a logographic system.[2] Emoji exist in various genres, including facial expressions, expressions, activity, food and drinks, celebrations, flags, objects, symbols, places, types of weather, animals and nature.[3]

Originally meaning pictograph, the word emoji comes from Japanese e (, 'picture') + moji (文字, 'character'); the resemblance to the English words emotion and emoticon is purely coincidental.[4] The first emoji sets were created by Japanese portable electronic device companies in the late 1980s and the 1990s.[5] Emoji became increasingly popular worldwide in the 2010s after Unicode began encoding emoji into the Unicode Standard.[6][7][8] They are now considered to be a large part of popular culture in the West and around the world.[9][10] In 2015, Oxford Dictionaries named the Face with Tears of Joy emoji (😂) the word of the year.[11][12]

  1. ^ "emoji - English meaning". Cambridge Dictionary. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  2. ^ Evans, Vyvyan (August 12, 2017). "Emojis actually make our language better". New York Post. Archived from the original on March 6, 2023.
  3. ^ Hern, Alex (February 6, 2015). "Don't know the difference between emoji and emoticons? Let me explain". The Guardian. Archived from the original on June 8, 2023.
  4. ^ Taggart, Caroline (November 5, 2015). New Words for Old: Recycling Our Language for the Modern World. Michael O'Mara Books. ISBN 9781782434733. Retrieved October 25, 2017 – via Google Books. Hard on the heels of the emoticon comes the Japanese-born emoji, also a DIGITAL icon used to express emotion, but more sophisticated in terms of imagery than those that are created by pressing a colon followed by a parenthesis. Emoji is made up of the Japanese for picture (e) and character (moji), so its resemblance to emotion and emoticon is a particularly happy coincidence.
  5. ^ "New Earliest Emoji Sets From 1988 & 1990 Uncovered". Emojipedia. May 13, 2024. Retrieved May 17, 2024.
  6. ^ Blagdon, Jeff (March 4, 2013). "How emoji conquered the world". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
  7. ^ Sternbergh, Adam (November 16, 2014). "Smile, You're Speaking EMOJI: The fast evolution of a wordless tongue". New York.
  8. ^ "4.4 KitKat". Android.
  9. ^ "How Emojis took center stage in American pop culture". NBC News. July 17, 2017.
  10. ^ Fisher, Jonathan (April 22, 2015). "Here's how people in different countries use emoji". Business Insider Australia. Archived from the original on April 15, 2021. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  11. ^ Oh, Yena (November 17, 2015). "Oxford Dictionaries 2015 Word of the Year is an Emoji". PBS Newshour. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  12. ^ Philiop Seargeant. The Emoji Revolution: How Technology is Shaping the Future of Communication. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2019.