A Guide to Understanding Emoji Slang (For Confused Parents!)
As technology has evolved, so has the way our children communicate with each other. The days of text slang are long gone, replaced by this newer, more colorful ‘emoji slang’. Increasingly, you will have noticed your children using these small images or icons, called emojis, to speak to their friends. This can seem confusing, leaving you feeling left out of your children’s digital lives.
If you’re one of these parents, fear not! We have written this emoji slang guide to help you navigate the world of emojis and understand what your kids are really saying. It will discuss the most popular emojis, and general emoji slang and then highlight those emojis which have negative or sexual connotations.
- What Are Emojis?
- Emoji Slang Guide
What Are Emojis?
You might be thinking—it’s all well and good discussing emoji slang, but I don’t know emojis and how they can be used. Well, let us help you by first defining—what are emojis. An emoji is a graphic representation of an emotion, item, or symbol. You can find them on smartphones such as iPhones or Androids and they tend to be used on communication apps such as Snapchat, FaceBook, and Twitter.
If you have an iPhone, the smiley face icon on your keyboard gives you access to the vast library of emojis. This library is categorized based on your most used, and then animals/creatures, sports, country flags, food, hearts and faces. If you have the latest iOS, instead of searching through this vast library, you can simply search for the emoji you desire.
Emojis or Emoticons
It is easy to get emoticons, which you might remember from the early days of the internet, and emojis confused—but remember they are two very different things. An emoticon is a sequence of characters that depicts a facial expression, whereas an emoji is a tiny image of something. For example ‘:)’ is an emoticon.
Emoji Slang Guide
The Most Popular Emoji Meanings
It is easier to understand the context and tone of your children’s texts and online interactions if you know the meanings of the most popular emojis:
- 😭 — The loudly crying face can be easily misread. Although its original purpose was to represent extreme sadness, in emoji slang it is used to represent uncontrollable laughter or joy.
- ❤️ — In emoji slang the red heart can be used to show love, jealousy or sorrow. The traditional heart is still the most popular, despite there being new alternative hearts in different colors and variations. The ‘Heavy Black Heart’ black heart symbol first appeared in Unicode 1.1 in 1993, which predates the introduction of color emojis.
- 🧢 — In emoji slang, the cap is often used when the sender thinks the receiver is lying, or ‘capping’.
- 🤡 — The clown face is used to suggest that someone is being fake or saying something very dumb, and acting like a ‘clown’.
- 😊 — And last, but most certainly not least is the smiling face with smiling eyes. This iconic emoji is frequently used to convey happiness, or can, in some instances, be used by your child in a sarcastic sense.
Now that we have covered the most widely used emojis, let’s discuss more general emoji slang and its meaning:
- 💯 — The ‘100’ emoji is widely used to indicate agreement or acceptance, especially in response to a cool picture on Instagram.
- ✨— The basic sparkles are used to convey a variety of joyful emotions or can in other instances be used to place emphasis on something your child is saying.
- 🙏 — Another, slightly confusing one, is the prayer emoji. You might take this literally to mean that your child is thinking about praying. However, this is not strictly true and it is often used in emoji slang to convey gratitude or thanks, or hope that something may happen.
- 🙃 — The upside-down face may also be confusing. On the surface, it might appear that this is conveying happiness. However, your child is probably using this to be sarcastic or to show frustration.
- 💀 — In emoji slang, the skull is used to mean uncontrollable laughter or ‘I’m dead from laughing’.
- 📈 — If you notice someone, or more specifically your child using the chart emoji—this is very positive! In emoji slang, this usually alludes to growth, progress, or improvement.
- 👉👈 — Fingers pointing at each other express shyness or nervousness (usually in the context of flirting).
- 🐙 — The octopus emoji is used as slang for a hug or virtual hug.
- 🐍 — Snake is used when describing someone with a mean or slippery nature. The emoji gained notoriety in popular culture when Kim Kardashian used it to describe her rival Taylor Swift.
- 🔥 — Flame can be used to describe something very good, but it can also mean “lit” — slang for a party atmosphere. The fire emoji is also used to describe when someone looks hot or sexy.
Some emojis are not so innocent and can have sexual or other negative connotations. You must be aware of the more sexual connotations of certain emojis so that you can discuss them openly with your child.
Here is a list of emojis with a sexual undertone or overtone and their meaning:
- 🍆🍌 — The first, and most widely-recognized euphemism is the eggplant. In emoji slang, the eggplant is used to allude to a phallus. Other emojis like the banana are often used to allude to the same thing.
- 🍑 — In provocative or suggestive contexts, the peach emoji is used to depict a peachy butt or posterior. However, don’t jump to conclusions if you see your child using this emoji as it could be completely innocent. They could instead be referencing peaches, the fruit or objects that are peach in color.
- 💦 — The water droplet emoji is another one to watch out for. This emoji alludes to a sexual act and the bodily fluids that come with this. If you notice your child has been using this emoji you should ask them what is meant by it.
- 🌽 — The corn emoji is used to represent porn. This is due to the fact that many social media sites, such as TikTok, censor accounts that mention porn directly.
- 🍒 — When your child uses the cherry emoji you might assume that they are wanting to eat or buy cherries. However, in emoji slang, the cherry emoji is often used to represent virginity or breasts.
- 🌶️ — The hot pepper emoji in emoji slang is often used as a warning that the content will be spicy or hot in nature.
- 👻 — Indicates that someone has become a “ghost” (dumped after the date without explanation).
- 🧠 — Oral sex.
- 👀 — Two widely opened eyes are used when sending or receiving nude or other “adult” content.
- 😵 — The meaning is similar to the previous one, but if open eyes have a positive meaning, then this emoji means shock, after seeing something with an x-rating.
- 🤤 — Expresses a vivid response to what one sees (for example, to a nude photo) or the sexual desire of someone.
- 🎤 — The microphone will not only indicate that someone wants to sing in karaoke. In the language of adult slang, this is a vibrator.
- 🥵 — Means “hot” in a sexual sense. This is how you can reply to a selfie on Instagram of someone you really like.
Partying, Drinks Symbols
Partying and alcohol-related emojis are commonplace and are often used in social media posts and communications. You might even use these yourself when you’re off out to meet friends! These include:
- 🍻 — The clinking beer glasses.
- 🍷 — Wine glasses.
- 🍸 — Cocktail glasses.
- 🎉 — Party popper emojis.
- 🥴 — Used to express intoxication, sexual arousal or grimace.
When used by adults, who are of drinking age, these emojis are harmless. However, they can also be associated with excessive alcohol use and underage drinking. You must be aware of these emojis and their potential implications, especially if you have noticed that your children are using them.
Some other partying emojis which you might notice your children using are:
- 🔌 — The electric plug is often used as a reference to a drug dealer or ‘plug’.
- 🍀 🍁 🌿 🥦 — The four-leaf clover, maple leaf, herb, and broccoli emojis are all used to reference marijuana.
- 🚀 — The rocket emoji is often used to reference the potency and strength of drugs. For instance, drug dealers might contact your children telling them they have 🚀 MDMA.
- ❄️ — In emoji slang, the snow is often used to describe drugs.
- 💨 — Here the slang meaning can be easily understood because it has a logical explanation. A cloud of smoke could mean smoking or vaping. However, in some cases, leaving somewhere is so fast that one leaves a trail.
If you notice your children are frequently using this drug-related emoji slang you should discuss it with them right away. It is important that your children feel they can discuss these things with you, but there should also be boundaries in place.
Also, if you notice that your child communicates a lot in messengers or on social media, try installing Kids360. With it, you can find out what your child is doing on the phone and restrict (or block) access to dangerous apps and games.
To sum up, knowing the meaning of emojis, and emoji slang more specifically is crucial for understanding your children and their digital footprint. It’s important to remember that an emoji’s intended meaning might change depending on the situation and the user’s perception.
As parents, it’s vital to have open and honest conversations with your children about proper internet behavior and communication, including the usage of emojis. To understand and interact with your children more effectively, you must stay up to date on the newest trends and terminology in digital communication.
Now that you have done this, you can better understand your children’s online conversations!
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