Beyond a Smiling Face: Your Guide to Uncommon Emoji Meanings

emoji meanings

Emojis have become a crucial part of how we talk online, adding extra layers to our digital conversations. They’re not just for decoration – they help us express emotions, humour, and sometimes even sarcasm.

But with so many to choose from, figuring out hidden meanings and less common emojis can be like learning a new language. Keep reading to explore some emoji meanings you might not be familiar with and tips on how to use emojis in your messages.

Uncommon emojis and their meanings

Why are people so scared of stepping out of their emoji comfort zone, beyond the classic smileys and hearts? Well, just like a word out of place can change what you mean, using the wrong type of emoji can lead to misunderstandings, confusion or even accidentally upsetting someone.

But if you use them correctly, emojis can boost your messages. It lets you share your thoughts and feelings with a little extra flair – something a plain text can’t always do. Let’s explore some uncommon emojis and uncover what they really mean.

The skull emoji 💀

Surprise! The skull emoji isn’t just for Halloween or talking about pirates. It’s become a light-hearted way to say that you’re laughing really hard. When people send skull emojis after a joke or comment, they mean “I’m dying with laughter!” or “That’s so funny, I can’t even!”

Example:Did you see that video of the cat playing the piano? 💀”

The clown face emoji 🤡

The clown face emoji has taken on a whole new meaning in digital conversations. Instead of talking about the circus, it’s become a go-to way to point out when someone is wrong or has made a mistake – a playful way to disagree with a statement.

Example:You think pineapple belongs on pizza. 🤡”

The blue cap emoji 🧢

When you see the blue cap emoji, think of it as the modern way of saying “I don’t believe you”. It’s closely related to the slang term “cap”, which means a lie.

Example message: “Yesterday, I saw a celebrity in the café.”
Example response: “🧢”

The goat emoji 🐐

If you get sent a goat emoji, it’s actually a big compliment. The acronym GOAT stands for “Greatest Of All Time”, so when someone sends you a goat emoji, they’re basically saying that you’re the best at what you do.

Example:Your presentation was amazing! 🐐”

The cold face emoji 🥶

This emoji has become a popular way to describe a comment or action that’s particularly harsh or “savage”.

Example:The coach said we played like amateurs! 🥶”

The hourglass emoji ⏳️

For Gen Z, this emoji has become a cool way to complement someone’s appearance, especially if they have a classic hourglass body shape. It’s a fresh take on an old symbol, showing how emoji meanings can change with different generations.

Example:Did you see Amari’s outfit today? ⏳️”

The loudly crying face emoji 😭

It may look very sad at first glance, but the loudly crying face emoji is often used to express positive emotions, or when they are overwhelmed with emotion.

Example:I got a puppy! 😭”

The grinning face with sweat emoji 😅

This emoji used to mean that you were feeling embarrassed or awkward, and some people still use it this way. However, Gen Z has given it a new spin. For them, it’s a way to say “I’m pretty stressed, but I’m handling it.”

Example:I’ve got three deadlines tomorrow, but everything is great. 😅”

The folding hands emoji 🙏

People have been debating this emoji’s meaning for years. Is it a sign of a prayer? Is it a high-five? Well, the truth is that the meaning can change depending on who you’re talking to. Nowadays, people often use it to show gratitude or hope.

Example:Just applied for my dream job. 🙏”

The fire emoji 🔥

The fire emoji is all about highlighting something incredibly cool, stylish or attractive. It’s less about real flames and more about showing that something is “lit” or “on fire” in a metaphorical sense.

Example:Have you heard this new song? 🔥”

The upside-down face emoji 🙃

This emoji is a way to show a sense of irony, frustration or that things aren’t going quite as planned.

Example:I just spilt coffee on my new shirt. 🙃”

The shocked emoji combination 👁️👄👁️

The emoji combination of an eye, a mouth and another eye might look a bit odd at first, but it’s actually a creative way to show shock or disbelief.

Moving away from the classic face with an open mouth emoji, this combo aims to mimic the look of wide eyes and a gaping mouth – just like someone’s reaction to really surprising news.

Example:Did you hear that they’re making a movie of our favourite book? 👁️👄👁️

The snake emoji 🐍

In the world of emojis, the snake emoji is often used to hint that someone is being sneaky, deceitful or untrustworthy.

Example:I can’t believe Emerson promised to help and bailed at the last minute. 🐍”

5 tips on how to use emojis in your digital communications

Using emojis can be a fun way to chat, but it’s also important to use them wisely to make sure your messages are clear and understood. Here are some tips to help you understand when to use emojis in your messages.

  1. Know what they mean: Before you pop it into your message, double-check what the emoji represents. Some emojis can have different interpretations, and you want to be sure you’re sending the right vibe to avoid any mix-ups.
  2. Think about the situation: Context is key! The way an emoji is interpreted can change based on the situation. Think about what you’re trying to say and how the emoji helps (or doesn’t help) get that message across.
  3. Less is more: A message overloaded with emojis can be confusing (and a bit overwhelming). Stick to just a few to keep your message clear and easy to read.
  4. Be careful in serious chats: In conversations that are serious or sensitive, it’s usually better to rely on words to make sure your tone and intent are crystal clear.
  5. Stay up-to-date: Emoji meanings can shift, and new ones are always popping up. Keeping up with these changes can help you use them in the coolest and most effective ways.

From digital smiles to real-life conversations: Explore our English courses

Are you looking to sprinkle some extra flair into your English conversations? Don’t just stop at mastering emojis, check out the incredible courses we offer at British Council English Online.

No 🧢, you’ll find English courses that are as lit as your favourite emojis! 🔥

Explore our courses >