What Are Some Meanings of Emoji Symbols?

A emoji consisting of a lady with bunny ears represents a celebratory feeling; an emoji showing a face with cold sweat represents feelings of fear, stress or pain; and a shooting star emoji represents dizziness. Emoji originated in Japan, and many emoji meanings are based on Japanese culture.

Emoji means “picture letter” in Japanese. People use the small digital pictures to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication. Each emoji has an official name, and the Unicode Consortium annually approves new emoji.

Some emojis’ meanings have changed in popular culture and no longer represent their original Japanese meaning. An emoji showing a person bowing deeply was originally a sign of respect, but in popular culture, as of 2015, people use the emoji to portray an inquisitive or thoughtful tone. The University of Miami adopted the hands raised in celebration as “throwing up the U” in honor of the University of Miami Hurricanes, but the original intention of this emoji was to express joy. An emoji showing a person with folded hands represents pleading or praying in popular culture, but the original Japanese purpose, it meant an expression of gratitude or an apology.

On June 16, 2014, the Unicode Consortium approved several new emoji as part of Unicode 7.0. New emoji include a thermometer, bouquet of flowers, snow-capped mountain, desert and Celtic cross.