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Difference between Emoji and Emoticon

Difference between Emoji and Emoticon

We all use smileys and emoticons in our text messages, emails, and social media posts. But what’s the difference between emoji and emoticons? Emoji are images that represent things like emotions, activities, or objects. Emoticons are keyboard characters that represent emotions.

What is Emoji?

  • Emoji are a type of image that originated in Japan. The word Emoji comes from two Japanese words, e which means picture, and moji which means character.
  • Emojis were first used on cell phones in the late 1990s but they did not become popular until 2012 when Apple Inc. included an Emoji keyboard on their iPhone. Emoji are used all over the world to communicate with friends and family.
  • Emojis can be used to express emotions, tell a story or just add some fun to a conversation. There are over 3,000 emojis to choose from and new emojis are added every year. Emoji have become so popular that they have their own movie, “The Emoji Movie” which was released in 2017.

What is an Emoticon?

An emoticon is a pictorial representation of a facial expression using punctuation marks, numbers and letters, usually used to express an emotion or sentiment in electronic communication. They are commonly used in text messages, emails, and instant messages.

  • Emoticons can broadly be divided into two categories: Western or horizontal (mainly from North America and Europe) and Eastern or vertical (primarily from East Asia).
  • The most common Western emoticons are 🙂 (smiling), 😉 (winking), 😐 (neutral), 😮 (surprised), 😦 (frowning), 😧 (anguished), 🙁 (sad) and 😡 (angry). Emoticons for sadder emotions such as 🙁 , :[ , :< , =[ , :{ , >:[ , :-|| , :'( are also quite common.
  • In contrast, Eastern emoticons tend to be much more complex and can sometimes be specific to a particular region or culture. For example, in Japan an emoticon that represents laughter is ^_^; whereas in China the corresponding emoticon is QQ.

With the increasing use of emojis, some platforms have started offering support for emoticons as well. However, emoticons are still popular among those who prefer text-based communication.

Difference between Emoji and Emoticon

Emoji and emoticons are often used interchangeably, but there is actually a big difference between the two.

  • Emoticons are made up of a combination of keyboard characters that represent facial expressions, like :), :(, or ^_^.
  • Emoji, on the other hand, are small images or pictographs that can be used to express a wide range of emotions.
  • While emoticons are limited to a few expressions, emoji include everything from happy faces and hearts to animals and food.
  • Emoji can also be used to convey more complex concepts, like weather conditions or clothing items.

So next time you’re sending a message, be sure to choose the right type of emoticon for your needs.


Emoji are actual images that come from Unicode, while emoticons are ASCII characters. Emoticons can be used in any text-based communication platform, such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. However, emoji can only be used in certain apps and platforms that support them. For example, you can use emoji on your iPhone but not on your computer. If you want to use emoji on your website or blog post, you need to have a plugin like WordPress Social Media Feather installed. Now that you know the difference between emoji and emoticons, go forth and start using them in all of your digital communications!

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