Emoji Dictionary: The Honest Meanings Behind Your 15 Favorite Emojis

by Connor Toole

By the year 2048, humans will no longer use words to communicate. All correspondence will take place in the form of GIFs and tiny yellow smiley faces, and the world will be a better place because of it.

I haven't entirely decided if I'm exaggerating, but I do know one thing: We're in the midst of a revolution, and that revolution is all about communicating with each other without having to say a single word.

The seemingly random selection of expressions and objects known as emojis have been around for a while, and even though they might be easy to use, using and understanding them without looking like an idiot isn't as easy as you'd think.

I put together a guide to help people understand the emojis they're most likely to encounter on a daily basis in an attempt to explain their true meaning and the right situation to use them.

You'll probably want to take a look if you don't want to embarrass yourself.


Translation: "I'm either incredibly sad or laughing really hard. Hopefully you can figure out which is which."

Most common used when: Quoting a tweet so you can let people know just how amusing you found it.

Alternate uses: Whenever you think it's appropriate to try to communicate sincere emotional pain via an electronic smiley face.

Tears Of Laughter

Translation: "I'm not as happy as I was when I sent the sobbing emoji, but I'm still happy"

Most common used when: When you want to communicate how funny you found something while avoiding the ambiguity of the previous emoji.

Alternate uses: When you didn't actually think something was funny and decided to use the minimal amount of effort to avoid hurting someone's feelings.


Translation: "Cool, dope." "100" is a reference to a perfect score on a test or exam (also known as an "A+"), but is most commonly used to reference the term "Keep It 100," a much cooler version of "Keep It Real."

Most common used when: You want people to people to know that you think something's cool while demonstrating your ability to stay up to date with current slang.

Alternative uses: When you need to use "100" in a sentence but typing it out is too much work.

Praying Hands

Translation: "Thank you God/Jesus/Whatever Deity You Might Look Up To"

Most commonly used when: Simply using the word "blessed" can't convey how truly blessed you are.

Alternate uses: For when you want to give someone a high five despite not knowing what a high five looks like.

Neutral Face

Translation: "Oh"

Most commonly used when: You said something you probably shouldn't have. Good luck ever getting laid.

Alternate uses: There are really no alternatives. If you receive this emoji, you should probably give up or invent a time machine to atone for your mistakes.

Ecstatic Grin

Translation: "EEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!"

Most commonly used when: You're so excited that you start grinding your teeth while your eyes start to look weird. This emoji might be on ecstasy.

Alternative uses: You just stubbed your toe because this could also be a grimace.


Translation: "This is hot (in the colloquial sense)!"

Most commonly used when: A rapper specializing in trap music releases a mixtape.

Alternative uses: You can't find the words to describe what it feel like when you pee.


Translation: "I'm so bored I just fell asleep"

Most commonly used when: People want you to think they're tired but they're really just tired of talking to you.

Alternative uses: You're actually falling asleep. This is rarely -- if ever -- used.

Hearts For Eyes

Translation: "I love this more than I've ever loved anything (besides the last time I used this emoji)."

Most common used when: People see something they love so much that it's the only thing they can see until they find something else to obsess over. This cycle usually repeats forever.

Alternate uses: Something went horribly, horribly wrong with your LASIK surgery.

Cat With Hearts For Eyes

Translation: "I love this more than I've ever loved anything (besides the last time I used this emoji). I'm also a cat."

Most common used when: A cat sees something it loves so much that it's the only thing it can see until it finds something else to obsess over. This cycle usually repeats forever.

Alternate uses: Something went horribly, horribly wrong with your LASIK surgery. You're also a cat.


Translation: "I'm flirting with you"

Most commonly used when: You said something overtly sexual, but want to come off as playful.

Alternative uses: Someone didn't respond to your joke and you desperately want it to be acknowledged 10 minutes after you made it.


Translation: "I'm making sure you realize that I'm flirting because I'd really like to bang soon."

Most commonly used when: You don't think the person you're talking to is smart enough to understand innuendo.

Alternative uses: Receiving an innocuous message with a double meaning and making it more sexual than it has to be.

Smiling Poop

Translation: Nobody knows. There are no records of its origins or its meaning.

Most commonly used when: You want to remind someone else that there's an emoji of a smiling piece of poop.

Alternative uses: You want to let someone know you just had a great poop.

Whatever The Hell This Is


Most commonly used when: You're trying to be cute and flirty while picking the creepiest emoji possible.

Alternative uses: You're having a stroke.

Woman Raising Her Hand

Translation: "I really want whatever it is I'm referencing!"

Most commonly used when: You "need" something you probably can't afford and that you probably won't end up buying because it takes way too much work to track it down in the first place.

Alternative uses: None really, but as with the case with most emojis, you can use five or 10 of these in a row depending on just how much you want something.