Surprise—These Emoji Meanings Aren't What You'd Expect
When it comes to emoji meanings, we think all interpretations are fair. In fact, we encourage creative emoji usage. After all, they're meant to be playful. Personally, emoji conversations are when I get to let my sass flag fly. Yet they're also supposed to speed up and ease communication. And since we also believe in the importance of being direct and straightforward, this open-interpretation policy can lead to some sticky situations and real-life mishaps that can't be blamed on Mercury in retrograde. If ending a sentence with a period via text can result in monstrous consequences, then surely an emoji can too.
So in an effort to set the record straight and send clearer messages, we consulted Emojipedia. Much to our horror, we found out that our "frequently used" emoji keyboard has been living a lie (you'll see what we're talking about once you read what these symbols actually mean). Specifically, language barriers and cultural nuances have made the meanings of many of our favourite emojis quite confusing, if not outright misleading. On the bright side, these kooky emoji meanings may also inspire some new group text jokes or elevator talk for your next awkward encounter. Scroll down to find out the Emojipedia definition of 20 emojis so you feel informed before hitting the send button.
What We Think It Means: "Home is where the heart is."
What It Really Means: Love hotel. "A love hotel is a hotel that can be hired by the hour, instead of as accommodation for the evening."
Shocking, right? Nothing against these so-called love hotels, but we prefer our definition of this one. Arguably the most controversial emoji on the keyboard, it was even the central figure in Durga Chew-Bose's first essay, "Heart Museum" in her critically acclaimed book Too Much and Not the Mood. She explains that she initially thought it meant "cardiologist," and was sure "the building stood for all matters having to do with that four-chambered, fist-shaped muscle we carry-that carries us—with constancy." As it turns out, it's not quite as poetic as we'd like to think.
What We Think It Means: A little red doodle or maybe an alert signal.
What It Really Means: Anger symbol.
This red symbol is "used to represent the veins popping on a very angry person," writes Emojipedia. Wow, that sounds serious and potentially dangerous. It does make sense once you know, but it's not self-explanatory. We'll call it the "temper tantrum emoji."
What We Think It Means: A mysterious figure heading to/falling into another dimension.
What It Really Means: Man in suit levitating.
We can see that this is a man in a suit levitating, but that doesn't explain much, nor does it call out his fedora. Emojipedia also mentions that it's someones referred to as "Rude Boy." We may have found our new favourite emoji.
What We Think It Means: A pretty little doily or bubblegum.
What It Really Means: A fish cake with swirl design.
While people definitely do eat this, it seems to be another case of broad symbols with a hyper-specific meaning, like the egg on a frying pan serving as the supposed universal symbol for cooking.
What We Think It Means: A girl raising the roof or tooting her own horn, as she should.
What It Really Means: An information desk person.
We're not seeing this one at all. Maybe it's supposed to represent the gesture of pride one would make if they knew the answers to every question ever asked. But then again, it's pretty doubtful that someone dealing with confused or angry customers/patrons all day would have this grin on their face (unless of course, it's a grimace).
What We Think It Means: A person with their hands on the table, doing push-ups, or groveling.
What It Really Means: Person bowing deeply.
That sounds really zen, so maybe we should try it. And bowing is still consistent with our interpretation of groveling, so at least we weren't totally off point with this one.
What We Think It Means: A cute little prawn or coconut shrimp.
What It Really Means: A fried prawn covered in breadcrumbs.
Before this emoji secured a spot in my "frequently used" keyboard (which is where it's consistently lived for years now), I could never find it because I was always searching for it in the "animals" category, not the "food" category. Weirdly and rudely, Emojipedia also writes that it's also used "to describe small male genitals."
What We Think It Means: The two best friends that anyone could have who are tap-dancing.
What It Really Means: Women with bunny ears.
Aha, so that's what those two things are. We figured they were devil horns or something more diabolical/ less specific than bunny ears.
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