Emoji dictionary

👺 Goblin emoji

[gob-lin ih-moh-jee]

What does 👺 Goblin emoji mean?

The goblin emoji depicts a tengu, or an arrogant character from Japanese folklore. People in the West commonly use it, though, to suggest trolling, evil, anger, mischief, and naughtiness—including of the sexy kind.

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Related words

Kabuki theater, 🍆 Eggplant emoji, 🎎 Japanese Dolls emoji, 🍶 Sake Bottle and Cup emoji, 👿 Angry Face With Horns emoji, 😈 Smiling Face With Horns emoji, 🍱 Bento Box emoji

Where does 👺 Goblin emoji come from?

Recorded in literature as early as 720 CE, tengu have deep roots in Japanese folklore, where they’re a type of minor Shinto god and yokai (a general monster, goblin, or demon)

Wikimedia Commons

Tengu are a type of anthropomorphic bird-dog creature, literally meaning “sky-dog” in the Japanese kanji 天狗. The tengu is a boastful trickster distinguished by its long nose, prominently featured on masks for tengu characters in Japanese kabuki and Noh theater. 

Wikipedia

The tengu assumed emoji form in 2010 under Unicode 6.0, officially called Japanese Goblin. Westerners unfamiliar with the tengu, however, often call the emoji goblin or troll emoji.

Designs for the goblin emoji vary by style across platforms, but all depict a red mask with menacing eyes and a frown, sometimes colored yellow, and bushy black eyebrows and mustache, sometimes with chin hair—and of course, the tengu’s signature long nose.

In January, 2018, Unicode recommended against a distinct troll emoji due to similarities in form and use to the goblin and ogre emoji, 👹, which is based on another creature from Japanese folklore. 

Examples of 👺 Goblin emoji

a lesbian sext: 👺😳
@falafeldogs, April 2018
With a face only a mother could love...👺
@WilliamShatner, May 2018
Promote what you LOVE ❤ instead of bashing what you HATE👺 Energy is a real thing whether it’s positive or negative.
@TeamRHJAZ, May 2018
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Who uses 👺 Goblin emoji?

Among Japanese users, the goblin emoji can call someone out as conceited or arrogant, in line with the tengu’s role in their culture. For those unfamiliar with the tengu, however, the goblin emoji often calls out internet trolling.

For others, the goblin emoji looks like a devil, so it gets used to demonize something, both cruelly and humorously.

The goblin emoji can also signify “mischief” or “naughtiness.” Thanks to its phallic nose, this naughtiness can be more sexual in nature—especially given that the tengu mask has been historically depicted as a strap-on dildo.

Its long nose also is associated with lying, like an evil Pinocchio or red-faced take on the lying face emoji, 🤥.

That mean, red face of the goblin emoji also lends to expressions of strong feelings of hate, frustration, and anger…

…or scary feelings, especially around Halloween and in conjunction with the ogre emoji, 👹or devil-themed emoji.

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Note

This is not meant to be a formal definition of 👺 Goblin emoji like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of 👺 Goblin emoji that will help our users expand their word mastery.