Emojis are ideograms and smileys widely used in electronic messages and web pages. Originating from Japan in 1999, the word emoji is Japanese for “picture” (e) + “letter, character” (moji). The use of emojis in day-to-day conversations became increasingly popular worldwide in 2010, after it was included in several mobile operating systems, thus becoming a large part of the pop culture in the West.
Originally used to express an emotion or feeling about specific events or things, the ever-increasing usage of emojis may potentially develop from a “language of symbols” to a “dialect.” And most of the time, people in social media are now communicating through emojis. (Take for example your niece who just replies to you with emojis or stickers, and somehow, you just understand what she’s saying.)
But we know that using emojis in conversations have led to misunderstandings and miscommunications. Just as some words we say or use can often be misinterpreted, emojis that we use can also be “misread.” To help with this confusion, Dictionary.com has decided to define some of the most commonly used emojis.
Lea Michele just might flip over this.
Yep, we’re not trying to pull your leg. They have actually selected more or less 25 emojis and defined it with utmost detail. According to Jane Solomon, a lexicographer at Dictionary.com, unlike the straight-up dictionary definitions, the supplementary articles on emojis “…give you a lot of information and a lot of context; it’s not just a one sentence definition because we felt that with emoji we wanted to give a little bit more information than we’d give when we define a word.” They broke down each article into four parts: About this word, What does [insert emoji] mean?, Where does [insert emoji] come from?, and Who uses [insert emoji]?
In the first part, the website gives you the very basic meaning of the emoji and its common usage. But when you get to the second part, you’ll get a complete “history” of the emoji. Take for example the pile of poo emoji which “…was very popular in Japan before it became international. Its original connotation was whimsical, rather than insulting or vulgar, and it referenced a child’s television program.”
It also gives you pieces of trivia about the said emoji. For example, at times the poop emoji is mistaken as a “chocolate ice cream” or even a “chocolate chip” emoji by some people. (Uhm, seriously, that’s gross!) But before you mark the poop emoji as NSFW, better read the third part which explicitly defends its usage by stating that: “…the pile of poo emoji does not always carry a negative or passive aggressive tone. On Tumblr, the pile of poo emoji is popular as a hashtag on selfies.”
Solomon said that they “defined” these emojis by researching “…how people are using emoji in context.” This enabled them to completely understand the varying meanings and usage of each emoji. That’s why you cannot just conclude that anyone who uses the poop emoji is actually saying something negative, because it may have a slightly different meaning for someone else.
So before you click those amusing emojis and send them to your friend, find out what they truly mean to avoid being misunderstood. 🙃
Check out to the full list here.
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