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Example: "I didn't know if you were serious or not since you didn't use an emoji."

Emoji Image

An emoji is a small image that can be inserted into text like a regular character. Emojis started to gain widespread use in 2010 as way to represent expressions (happy ☺️, sad ☹️, etc). As the popularity grew, more emojis were created, and now represent many other things, such as people, places, and objects.

Most modern operating systems, including Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android now support emojis. You can insert an emoji using an "emoji keyboard," which is an on-screen keyboard that appears on a computer or mobile device. When you type an emoji, your device outputs a Unicode code, the same way it would output a letter, number, or symbol. Just like there is a binary code for the letter "L," there is also a code for an "airplane" emoji, or ✈️.

Since the list of available emojis is standardized in the Unicode character set, the emojis available to you depend on your device and operating system version. If your device does not support a certain emoji, it may show up as an empty box (□). When you update the software on your device, you may be able to see (and use) new emojis that were not available before.

Important: The term "emoji" comes from the Japanese words "e" (絵) and "moji" (文字), or "picture character."

First Published: March 31, 2017
Last Updated: March 31, 2017

Definition from the PC Glossary