What Do All The Emojis Mean? A Guide To All Your Favorite IPhone Emoticons

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woman with smiley face on her tongue
Self

We live in a world of text speak where emoji meanings are as much part of our vernacular as word meanings. Every thought, feeling or emotion you could imagine can probably be conveyed through emojis if you wanted it to!

Emojis can really brighten up a text (or darken it if that's what you're going for), but it's important to know what certain emojis mean in order to get your point across accurately. And using specific emojis let the person you're texting learn all about your personality.

Take a look at these emojis so you can stop scratching your head wondering what they means.

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Smileys and People Emojis

Grinning Squinting Face

When you’re in a fit of laughter and struggling to contain yourself, this is the emoji to use. It's a little bit mischievous for when you’re laughing at something you probably shouldn’t find funny. 

Grinning Face with Sweat

This means smiling but also kind of stressing. This is good for expressing relief after a close call or showing the joy you feel after getting through a stressful situation. 

Laughing Face

The visual representation of the term ROFL. Save this for responses to the most hilarious of jokes and hysterical situations. 

Smiling Face with Smiling Eyes

This emoji radiates bashfulness. The blushing smiley is blissful but timid. It's great for when you're complimenting someone.

Upside Down Smiley Face

This means the exact opposite of any smiley face. It expresses that feeling you have when things are falling apart, but you need to look like you’re holding it together.

Soft Smiling Face

Peaceful and relieved, this smiley face has had a good day, and is carefree and relaxing.

Smiling Face with Halo

Representing an angel, this emoji expresses the feeling of "I solemnly swear I am up to no good."

Smiling Face with Tear

This emoji is used to show that you're grateful, relieved, or truly touched.

Winking Smiling Face

This smiley face is when you're pulling a practical joke, want to be flirty, or have a hidden motive.

Crazy Face

This one conveys the feeling of going stir crazy, or falling apart because of a hilarious joke.

Heart Eyes

When you're in love with someone who texts you, think something is cute, or just have an intense infatuation.

Face with Raised Eyebrow

With one raised brow, this shows that you're skeptical and don’t quite believe what is being told.

Worried Face

The frowning face and raised eyebrows express anxiety about an upcoming event or a stressful situation.

Pained Face

Pushing through a tough time, use this emoji when you're struggling but have to trudge onwards.

Anguished Face

This emoji is for when you're extremely angry and devastated. It’s the final straw and you can’t take it anymore.

Fed Up Face

Exasperated and drained, you're lacking sleep and are exhausted.

Weary Face

This emoji is used when you’re in need of a good moan to a friend about unpleasant times.

Face with Begging Eyes

These puppy dog eyes are adorable and emotive, so use them to plead and get your way.

Red Angry Face

This emoji is ready to explode. Like you, it's furious and is sitting with an anger that has been brewing. 

Angry Face with Symbols Over the Mouth

These symbols represent cursing and the expletives of an extremely angry outburst.

Fearful Face

This face is frozen with shock. Use it when you seem to be stunned into silence, or horrified by something surprising that has happened.

Fearful Face with A Cold Sweat

Worry has caused this emoji to break out in a cold sweat, so used it in nerve-wracking situations like when you have to do public speaking or meet up with your ex!

Hugging Face

This is a warm cordial gesture from someone who wants to reach through their phone and give a hug.

Neutral Face

Also known as a poker face. This emoji isn’t giving anything away or just doesn’t have anything to give away; it's for when you feel completely indifferent. 

Expressionless Face

This emoji is emotionless. Like you, it has nothing left to say and has reached the end of its patience. 

Sleepy Face

The bubble emerging from this emoji’s nose is a typical symbol of sleep in manga and anime. This means you need rest or are extremely bored with a conversation. 

Dizzy Face

This emoji is feeling lightheaded and needs to sit down. This can be used in a variety of contexts to convey drunkenness, shock, confusion or extreme emotions. 

Woozy Face

This emoji doesn’t feel so good. The uneven eyes and mouth show that the emoji is bewildered or maybe feeling queasy. 

Money-Mouth Face

This emoji has dollar signs in its eyes and mouth. Use it when you have just gotten a raise or are ready to blow some cash. 

Smiley Face with Horns

This devilish, grinning purple face is mischievous and cunning. This is used when you want to cause some trouble. 

Angry Face with Horns

This is also used to represent trouble, but not the fun kind. The angry face suggests you're using this emoji with malicious intent. 

Palms Facing Up

In American Sign Language, this is the symbol for an open book. This emoji is about openness and acceptance. Either that or someone’s asking for money. 

Raised Hands

The hands are stretched upwards in celebration, and are used as a symbol of praise and celebration. 

Clapping Hands

This is used as applause when you’re cheering for someone, or doing so sarcastically for things that don’t deserve applause. 

Oncoming Fist

This can be a greeting or gesture of agreement between two friends. It may also be a more threatening gesture symbolizing an incoming punch.

Raised Fist

This is a sign of solidarity and resistance. Someone might use this to say they are standing with you as you fight for a cause.

Love You Gesture

In American Sign Language, this gesture means “I love you.” It’s the emoji equivalent of "ILY." 

Sign of the Horns

Metal rock fans love to throw this one up at concerts before a guitar shred. 

Vulcan Salute

Also known as a Spock greeting, this was used by the "Star Trek" character to say “Live long and prosper.”

Call Me Hand

Fingers are splayed to replicate an ear and mouthpiece from a telephone. This is often sent as a way of saying “call me,” but also replicates the shaka or “hang loose” gesture used by surfers. 

Folded Hands

In Japanese culture, this means “please” or “thank you.” The hands may also be interpreted as praying hands and used to express hope. This emoji can also symbolize a high-five.

Exploding Head

Use this one when a text you've received has blown your mind!

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Animal and Nature Emojis

Pig’s Snout

Pig snouts twitch when something smells good (or bad!). This emoji might be a way of telling someone they’re being a bit greedy or piggish.

See-No-Evil Monkey

The monkey is shielding his eyes to avoid seeing something he doesn’t want to witness. 

Speak-No-Evil Monkey

This monkey will keep a secret and won’t share anything that might incriminate someone.

Hear-No-Evil Monkey

The monkey doesn’t want to hear anything negative or hurtful. This could also be an expression of shock. 

Hatching Chick

This baby bird is seeing the world for the first time. The emoji could be used literally or to convey a rebirth. 

Two-Humped Camel

While you can use this emoji as a literal camel, it's often used on Wednesday, otherwise known as "Hump Day."

Dove

Let’s work this out. Doves are symbols of peace and bring an end to conflict. This dove carries an olive branch in its beak as a symbol of resolution. 

Rose

Red roses are the flower of romance, love and intimacy. Send this one to someone special.

Wilted Rose

Wilted flowers usually express a sentiment of heartbreak, grief or sadness. Or, you're referencing "Beauty and the Beast."

Crescent Moon

In this emoji, only the crescent is visible and not the shadow part of the moon. Use it when saying "sweet dreams."

Glowing Star

Reach for the stars. The stylized bursts between points suggest the star is twinkling or glowing. 

Dizzy Star

This twirling star is often used as a symbol for feeling dizzy or seeing stars. 

Sparkles

This cluster of sparks or glitter can convey happiness, excitement or celebration. It also looks like a set of twinkling lights. 

Fire

The flame emoji can refer to something very warm, someone attractive, or spicy food. 

Collision 

Bang! Something explosive has happened.

Gust of Wind

This is a cartoon-like puff of wind that could symbolize speeding off into the distance, or even flatulance.

Sweat Droplets

While this can mean you're actually sweating, this emoji also symbolizes sexual fluids.

Bee

When you're busy, use this to let the person you're texting know!

Shamrock

You're feeling lucky, and you want everyone in your contacts list to know.

Crab

You can use the crab to symbolize the Cancer zodiac sign, as food, or when you're feeling a little crabby.

Rainbow

While the rainbow can represent an actual rainbow, it's a symbol used in the LGBT+ community as a form of pride and identity.

Food and Drink Emojis

Cherries

The cherry on top. Cherries are often considered a forbidden fruit. They are associated with romance, kissing, and can be a bit sexual.

Peach

Peaches have a soft skin and juicy inside. The peach emoji is often used to refer to a butt, too.

Eggplant

Be careful who you send this emoji to. The eggplant emoji is often used as a phallic symbol alongside the water droplet emojis or to refer to sex. Because of this, the emoji was once banned from search results on Instagram.

Banana

Similar to the eggplant emoji, the banana can mean a literal banana, or be a phallic symbol.

Fortune Cookie

These hollow, crescent-shaped vanilla cookies are often given with Chinese takeout and restaurant meals in the West. When cracked open, there is a slip of paper containing advice or wisdom.

Candy

A small piece of hard, sugar candy wrapped in a clear foil with twists on the end. If you find someone attractive, you might call them “eye candy.”

Peanut

Also called monkey nuts, you can use this emoji when describing someone as "crazy."

Honey Pot

Winnie the Pooh was often seen with a pot of honey like this one, but the emoji can also be an affectionate pet name. Use it alongside a rabbit to say "honey bunny."

Beer Mugs

Cheers! These clinking mugs represent a night spent with friends or a celebration. 

Champagne Glasses

Champagne is a luxurious beverage usually only consumed on special occasions, so use it when toasting to something wonderful.

Salt

To take something “with a pinch of salt” means to be aware that something may be exaggerated or untrue. And to call someone “salty” means they are being hostile or begrudging.

Mushroom

This specific mushroom is highly poisonous! Use it when sending a warning about nature, or when you're using the symbol to represent hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Cheese

Cheese can be used to describe the actual food, or when something is a bit "cheesy" or corny.

Popcorn

Used by people watching drama go down in online threads, popcorn symbolizes standing back and being entertained by the spectacle.

Cookie

The cookie is used to sarcastically congratulate someone on stating the obvious. As in, "Wow what an insight. Want a cookie?"

Hot Pepper

The hot pepper is spicy and hot, just like someone you're attracted to.

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Activity Emojis

Soccer Ball

Known as a football outside of the US, this can be used as a literal representation of the sport, or to say you "scored" sexually.

Baseball

For when you've "hit a home run" at work, in life, or in love.

Pool 8 Ball

This is a pool ball used in billiards, snooker or pool. It represents the last man standing or risk-taking. 

Ping Pong

A red paddle and white ping pong ball used for table tennis. Ping pong can also be a metaphor for going back and forth with someone. 

Bow and Arrow

This is used in the sport of archery, but can be a symbol for love after Cupid shoots an arrow in you. 

Fishing Pole

This is a relaxing recreational sport for many. This emoji might also be used in a joking way if someone is “fishing for compliments.”

Sled

A sleigh, sled, or toboggan that is typically used recreationally in the winter to slide down hills of snow and ice. Or, it can be used to represent Santa's sleigh.

Weightlifter

The person is in a squat position with a barbell lifted high over their head. This can be used when referring to the gym or working out, in general. 

Wrestling

Two wrestlers competing in a wrestling match. This can refer to sport, having a fight, or wrestling with a problem. 

Person Fencing

En garde! The emoji wears silver fencing equipment and carries a sword. Figuratively, this emoji can refer to settling a duel or quarrel.

Horse Racing

This emoji is a jockey riding a racehorse and galloping, but it can also refer to a race, in general. 

Person in Lotus Position

The person sitting cross-legged is meditating or doing yoga. Figuratively, this can mean relaxing or finding zen.

Trophy 

This gold cup is awarded to the winner of a competition or to recognize a great achievement. Use it when congratulating someone on a huge achievement.

Microphone

Microphones are used to amplify a person’s voice when they’re singing, making a speech, or performing. But you can use this emoji when you want to sing karaoke or get a point across.

Dice

This is a single die with spots to represent numbers one through six. Rolling a dice is associated with chance, gambling, game-playing or risk-taking. 

Person Juggling

This emoji can represent an actual juggler, or to express that you're juggling too many responsibilities at the moment.

Boxing Glove

While boxing is a sport, it's also an emoji used to describe a challenge you've overcome.

Direct Hit

Basically, this is a bullseye. When responding to a text, it lets the other person know they've guessed correctly.

Drum

There's the literal representation, or can be used as a snare drum. As in, "Drum roll, please..."

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Travel and Places Emojis

Oncoming Taxi

When your taxi arrives, use the emoji to let your friends know that you're on the way.

Small Airplane

Small aircrafts are used for short distances, private jets or island travel. Use the airplane when you're traveling.

Flying Saucer

For believers in UFOs and aliens, the flying saucer is great for any texts about extraterrestrial events.

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Vertical Traffic Light

For when you're waiting at a light, or want to tell someone to stop what they are doing via text.

House with Garden

If you've just bought a home or have spruced up the place, this emoji is used when you're feeling great about your house.

Dilapidated House

Both in a direct and indirect way, use this emoji to express that something is in disrepair.

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is a universal symbol of freedom. Use it on the Fourth of July or all year round.

Police Car Light

Often seen on police cruisers, text this one when you have an urgent matter to discuss.

Anchor

Let your texting buddies know that you have some stability in your life by using the anchor.

Object Emojis

Watch 

For when you need the time or just want to hint to a friend that time is running out.

Hourglass with Flowing Sand

Time is of the essence, so use it when trying to make haste.

Light Bulb

When you've just had a brilliant idea, text this emoji to your closest supportive friends.

Money with Wings

If you've just come into a bunch of cash or just got paid, show how excited you are for your new fortune.

Gem Stone

Whether you're feeling like a million bucks, just got engaged, or just came into some money, the gem stone, or diamond, is the perfect emoji to use.

Bomb

You've got the hottest gossip and you're about to drop that bombshell news on everyone in your text messages.

Fireworks

Are sparks flying in a new relationship? Let them know with the fireworks emoji.

Party Popper

This emoji is appropriate for any celebration or good news you're told.

Love Letter

Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned love letter? Maybe it's a hint to tell someone how sweet they are.

Pushpin

Set a date with friends or a partner by using the pushpin, letting them know they're in your calendar.

Knife

Horror movies, cooking, or sheer anger — all three can be expressed with the knife emoji.

Compass

The compass is used for navigation, but also symbolizes you choosing the right path to go on.

Battery

After a draining day or night out, when you've gotten enough sleep, let your friends know you're ready to do it all over again because you're fully energized.

Money Bag

You feel like Uncle Pennybags from Monopoly when you use this emoji.

Package

This can mean a delivery from UPS or a hint that you're buying someone a gift.

Wastebasket

You've taken out the "trash" in your life, and your best friend deserves to know by using this wastebasket emoji.

Key

Made famous by DJ Khaled on his Snapchat as the "key to success," use this emoji in the same way.

Crystal Ball

The crystal ball is used in a facetious way, where you say what someone else is thinking before knowing!

Magnifying Glass

When you get a text that grabs your interest, the magnifying glass means you want to know more, or look at it even more close.

Scissors

While you can use the scissors if you've gotten a hair cut or have coupons to use, scissors also represent cutting someone toxic out of your life.

Magnet

If you're attracted to someone, let them know using the magnet emoji. Maybe they will send one back!

Pill

Use this emoji when you're letting someone know you're sick, or when you want to refer to someone as a "pill," or very unpleasant person.

Coffin

When something has made you laugh so hard, you're "dead."

RELATED: The 3 Emojis That Are Instant Turn-Offs For Guys (And The 3 They Like Best)

Symbols Emojis

Red Heart

The Classic Red Heart is used when you are showing love and support to someone, or just want to show affection.

Broken Heart

When no words can describe how you feel, the broken heart emoji expresses those emotions of devastation.

Growing Heart

When your love for someone is growing, or your heart is bursting with love, this emoji works perfectly.

Heart with Arrow

Cupid has shot you with his arrow! It's perfect for when you feel that new relationship high.

Heart with Ribbon

This emoji is perfect to use for Valentine's Day, or to express gratitude for something nice.

Cross Mark

When something is "canceled" or X marks the spot, this emoji is all about context.

Zzz

You're tired, are about to pass out, and probably won't answer texts until the morning.

Infinity

Infinity is forever, so use this one when you're talking about your love or a situation that feels never-ending.

Thought Balloon

You're thinking out loud, and want to share your ideas with someone.

Angry Speech Bubble

This emoji is used to represent arguing of some kind.

White Flower

The Japanese inscription means “very well done,” but this flower is a good way to praise your friends or loved ones, or celebrate Mother's Day.

Heart on Fire

This can symbolize heartburn or passion, depending on the context.

Om Symbol

Also known as the Namaste symbol, people associate this symbol with yoga and inner peace.

Check Mark

Whether something is A-OK with you, or you've gotten approval on something special, the check mark symbolizes completion.

Double Exclamation Mark

Use this emoji when you're extremely excited about something, or are equally shocked.

Prohibited Sign

Commonly used on no trespassing signs, the prohibited sign means you won't allow something, whether it be a behavior or person.

Musical Note

Musical notes are great to use when you're texting lyrics to a song.

100 Points

The 100 symbol isn't just for points. It's also used when you're "keeping it 100" or being truthful, honest, and real.

Speaker High Volume

People usually send this emoji accompanied with a video. It's a note to turn your volume up.

Warning

This emoji is used to send a warning to be careful of danger, including other people.

OK

When the word "OK" won't suffice, the OK emoji is the next best way to say it.

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Alex Alexander is a blogger for YourTango whose written extensively on love, relationships, and lifestyle topics.