The Impressive, Expressive Emoji

Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
word of the year 2015 is emoji face with tears of joy

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Did you know the laughing tears of joy emoji won Oxford Dictionary's "Word of the Year" in 2015? It was the first time a non-word has won top honors.

Fun Facts

small happy smiley emoji Adding new emoji to the encoding standard is a formal process and can take more than two years.

small happy smiley emoji The Unicode Consortium provides a code and a representative glyph, but the final appearance of each emoji is determined by each vendor (that's why the emoji you send to your friend's iPhone looks different on your Samsung).

small happy smiley emoji July 17 is World Emoji Day. That is the day pictured on the iOS Calendar emoji. But no matter what calendar you use, you can join in the celebration on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #WorldEmojiDay.

small happy smiley emoji Check out the most popular emoji trending on Twitter: emojitracker. Be sure to sign off on the epilepsy warning!

small happy smiley emojiEmoticons are not the same as emoji! As explained by the Unicode consortium, they are kind of like cousins: "Emoticons (from "emotion" plus "icon") are specifically intended to depict facial expression or body posture as a way of conveying emotion or attitude in e-mail and text messages. They originated as ASCII a standard way of representing numbers and letters in a computer file so that they can be read by most computers character combinations such as :-) to indicate a smile-and by extension, a joke-and :-( to indicate a frown." There is some debate as to the earliest known use of punctuation-as-feelings (1862 speech by Abraham Lincoln perhaps? Or even, possibly, a poem by Robert Herrick in 1648?), but the first explicit use, and subsequent adoption, must be credited to Scott E. Fahlman of Carnegie Mellon University in 1982. In an attempt to clarify meaning and intent of posts on a digital message board, his :-) came with instructions, "Read it sideways."

small happy smiley emojiThe current emoji list can be found on the Unicode Consortium website.
by Catherine McNiff