Where does come from?
The grinning face with sweat emoji is basically the grinning face with smiling eyes emoji, with the addition of a single bead of sweat over its right eye (WhatsApp went rogue and put it over the left eye…must be TLC fans.
When this emoji was approved as part of Unicode in 2010, it was called Smiling Face With Open Mouth and Cold Sweat emoji because it was specifically intended to convey the nervous laughter used to diffuse tense situations. However, users employed the emoji in such a variety of ways counter to the original meaning that the name was eventually changed to grinning face with sweat emoji.
That took a turn real quick… 😅🔪 pic.twitter.com/zdh3TjU5Tp
— NetflixBinger (@NetflixBinger1) December 6, 2018
Who uses ?
In 2016, City Pages claimed the grinning face with sweat was a “rarely used emoji, as few people look this happy while sweating.” But the emoji’s popularity has led it to be used to portray a range of emotional and physical states.
A major use of the grinning face with sweat emoji is to celebrate squeaking through a close call:
@Rashide_ It was a close one but we made it 😅🙌🏿
— Radio Raheem (@ezeikel_) November 11, 2018
But it can also be used to express chagrin or mild embarrassment–perfect for a belated birthday text or tweet.
Happy belated birthday! 😅😅
Hope you had a great day
— Aisha (@MonarchAisha) November 11, 2018
Taken quite literally, it can mean a person is sweating because they exercised…
…or maybe they’re about to eat something piping hot.
Or perhaps someone is flushed from seeing a cutie. This emoji is often included in what are called “thirst tweets,” or tweets about how bangable someone is.
— The Daily Shuffle (@TheDailyShuffle) November 7, 2018
You will also see this emoji accompanying posts about anime because, according to Winnie Liu of the Factorialist, “the giant sweat drop above the brow has traditionally appeared in Japanese animation…to indicate awkwardness, frustration, embarrassment, and sentiments like What the heck?”