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emoji, n.

Brit. Hear pronunciation/ᵻˈməʊdʒi/
U.S. Hear pronunciation/ᵻˈmoʊdʒi/
Frequency (in current use):  Show frequency band information
Inflections:   Plural emoji, emojis.
Origin: A borrowing from Japanese. Etymon: Japanese emoji.
Etymology: < Japanese emoji pictograph (1928 or earlier, perhaps after English pictograph n.), small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, etc. in electronic communications (1990s) < e   picture (formerly ye  ; 8th cent. as we  ; < Middle Chinese) + moji   letter, character (10th cent.; contraction of mon   character, word + ji   character, letter (see kanji n.), based on a Middle Chinese compound; compare Chinese wénzì writing).
The resemblance in form and meaning to emoticon n.   is probably coincidental.

  A small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, etc., in electronic communications.

1997   Nikkei Weekly (Japan) 27 Oct. 25/5   P-kies CD-ROM Emoji Word Processor software featuring more than 500 pictorial symbols has become a hit since it debuted July 11.
2001   Wired Oct. 74/1   Emoji..consists of tiny pixelated images that sub for words in mobile gossiping.
2005   A. Pashtan Mobile Web Services iii. 44   Another extension is the use of the emoji icon symbols.
2011   N.Y. Times (Nexis) 28 Apr. b9   If you've downloaded an app for emojis, those little happy faces and icons, you can add it to your list of keyboards in this panel.

1997—2011(Hide quotations)


This is a new entry (OED Third Edition, December 2013; most recently modified version published online March 2022).