Emoji dictionary

👺 Goblin emoji

Japanese Goblin emoji or Tengu emoji gob-lin ih-moh-jee ]

What does 👺 Goblin emoji mean?

The Goblin emoji 👺 depicts a tengu, or an arrogant character from Japanese folklore. It is portrayed as a red mask with menacing eyes and a frown. It has bushy black eyebrows and a mustache—and of course, the tengu’s signature long nose.

People in the West commonly use it to suggest trolling, evil, anger, mischief, and naughtiness—including the sexy kind.

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?

The tengu assumed emoji form as the Goblin emoji 👺 in 2010 under Unicode 6.0 and is officially called Japanese Goblin. 

Westerners unfamiliar with the tengu, however, often call the emoji a goblin or troll

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)

illustration of two figures, one in black and white, and the other in red

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. 

3D mask in red with a giant nose, menacing face, black hair at the top and a white beard


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

With a face only a mother could love...👺
@WilliamShatner, May 15, 2018
Promote what you LOVE ❤ instead of bashing what you HATE👺 Energy is a real thing whether it’s positive or negative.
@TeamRHJAZ, May 16, 2018
you got the face of an angel and the personality of  Japanese goblin  
@mydarlingkylo, October 13, 2020

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. Those unfamiliar with the tengu, however, often use the emoji to call 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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sponge city, babygirl, Damp January, beekeeping age, mi amor


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.