Emojis are small picture-like symbols that can add context and emotion to written text. They are about the same size as a letter that can be typed, but unlike alphanumeric characters, they are usually depicted in color, and their meaning is often open to interpretation. The word emoji comes from combining the Japanese words for picture and character.
The first emoji characters, introduced in the 90’s and early 2000’s, included smiley faces, hearts, stars, arrows, and astrological symbols. Today, there are thousands of emojis that depict everything from mosquitoes, to mermaids. From the moai statues of Easter Island, to mechanics, microbes, motorized wheelchairs, and mages.
A non-profit organization known as The Unicode Consortium determines which emojis are included in the Unicode standard, and which potential-emojis are deemed too redundant, too specific, too broad, or otherwise unfit for inclusion. Anyone can submit a proposal for a new emoji, and the list of official emoji symbols is updated yearly.
While the Unicode Consortium is responsible for the dictionary of available emojis. It is up to individual vendors to decide on how each emoji ultimately looks. This is why the same emoji will look different on Twitter then it does on Facebook. Or why an emoji you text from an iPhone will look different when received on an Android.
Below, you'll find thousands of emojis, organized into categories, such as Smileys, Animals, and Transportation. Click an emoji to discover its meaning, images of how that emoji is rendered across a variety of vendors, and links to similar related emojis.