One of the greatest inventions of our time is the emoji. Universal symbols that have been adopted as a standard way of communicating with friends, family, and colleagues around the world. It has changed the way we communicate with each other and, with it, a whole new language – one that is decipherable with a simple glance. 

Despite the popularity and prevalence of emojis, many of us don’t realize that many of our favorite emojis have much deeper meanings than we think, many of which we never knew until now. So, let’s take a look at some of the more popular emojis and what hidden meanings they convey, delving into their cultural, traditional, and possible hidden meanings behind each emoji.

The Classic Smiley Face

No emoji list would be complete without a classic smiley face. We’ve all used it to convey a feeling of happiness, kindness, and cheer. Yet, the true origin of the smiley face emoji has a much more complex and friendly message behind it. According to one popular story, the smiley face was created in the 1970s by graphic designer Harvey Ball. He was hired by an insurance company that wanted to improve their company morale. This was soon followed by the addition of the yellow heart and the purple heart, which are now associated with friendship and loyalty.

But what is the hidden message behind the smiley face emoji? The answer is simple: it’s a sign of positivity in the face of adversity. The smiley face can also be seen as a reminder of the power of unity, in spite of any difficulties that may come your way. No matter what the situation, the smiley face, when it is used appropriately, can help bring a feeling of calm and peace to difficult conversations.

The Scissors Emoji

One of the most widely-used emojis, the scissors emoji is often used to signify “let’s cut to the chase.” This directly points to the idea that the user wants to get to the point and move on from it quickly. But, beyond this, the scissors emoji has another, much deeper meaning. In the United States, scissors are commonly used as a form of divination (fortune-telling). This is why you’ll often see people using the symbol when they want to know what fate holds in store. The emoji is meant to emphasize the fact that what is unknown can be revealed with the right divination tools.

The Hand-Over-Mouth Emoji

Most people would assume that the hand-over-mouth emoji conveys something along the lines of shock or disbelief. But the true origin of this emoji has a much deeper meaning. It is derived from kabuki theater, a traditional Japanese form of theatrical performance. In kabuki theater, actors used the hand-over-mouth gesture to show that they were overcome with emotion. This could be anything from disbelief to horror. In modern use, the emoji is meant to denote feelings of embarrassment, shame, and shock.

The Broken Heart Emoji

This emoji hardly needs explanation, but many don’t realize that its true origin is in literature and poetry. It is believed to have originated in Dante’s Divine Comedy, in which the narrator mourns for his lost love in the form of a broken heart. From there, the broken heart has become a symbol of longing and unrequited love. It is also often used as a sign of sympathy or condolence. So, while this emoji might have a basic application to signify a broken heart, the underlying message implies a much more personal, intimate sentiment.

The Woman With Bunny Ears Emoji

The woman with bunny ears emoji is actually a rare example of an emoji with multiple meanings. Originally, it was used to signify a type of “cool girl” attitude. This is because the woman in the emoji is often seen as having an effortlessly cool and confident style. But, more recently, the emoji has been used to portray a more playful and flirty attitude. This is because, in modern culture, bunny ears are often associated with teasing and seduction. So, while the emoji might seem innocent enough, its true meaning is a bit more nuanced than you might think.

The Winking Face Emoji

The winking face emoji is probably the most widely used emoji of them all. Generally, users deploy it to convey a joke, a flirtatious comment, or a playfully sarcastic remark. However, like most emojis, there is a hidden meaning behind this one too. It is derived from a gesture made in ancient Greek theater. In some plays, actors would use a wink to signify that what they were saying had a much deeper meaning than what can be seen on the surface. Similarly, the winking face emoji is meant to signify that there is a much more complex meaning to a comment or statement than meets the eye.

The Dreamy Eyes Emoji

If you’re looking for something to express admiration or desire, then the dreamy eyes emoji is just the thing for you. Its origin is derived from the traditional hand-drawn “manga” style of art from Japan. In manga, the eyes of a character are often drawn in a dreamy way to indicate that they are in a state of mesmerized adoration. Thus, the need for you to use words to express your admiration is somewhat mitigated, as long as the receiver of your message can interpret the true meaning behind this emoji. This is why the dreamy eyes emoji has become so popular, as it allows us to express our admiration without having to use too many words.

The Folded Hands Emoji

The folded hands emoji is one of the most widely used emojis today. Many assume that its use is synonymous with “pleading” or “prayer”, but this is not the case. In fact, the folded hands emoji originates from the Buddhist tradition of mudras — a type of hand gesture used to signify the notions of grace and devotion. Thus, when you use the folded hands emoji, it could simply be a sign of gratitude or a gesture to express your appreciation for someone.

The Face With Tears of Joy Emoji

Last but not least, we have the face with tears of joy emoji. This is one of the more popular emojis around and is often used to express something humorous. But, beyond its comedic use, the face with tears of joy emoji also has deeper cultural significance. It reflects a Zen Buddhist concept, known as “mujodo”, which represents an awakening to the dignity and grace of life in the midst of tragedy. In other words, no matter the circumstances, the face with tears of joy is a reminder to maintain our composure and cheerfulness in the face of sorrow.

Emojis offer a hilarious, convenient, and sometimes mysterious way to express ourselves which can be tricky to decode. While interpretation can differ from person to person, it is always worth gathering insight into the hidden meanings behind popular emojis, as it can help us better understand their context when used in conversation. We hope that now you have a better understanding of the hidden meanings behind some of the more popular emojis and how to properly interpret their use in conversations.