Where does come from?
Approved as part of Unicode 6.0 in 2010, the ox emoji shows a light brown or tan ox with curved horns and a long tail—except for Facebook, which has a gray beast of burden.
An ox is a castrated bull used for farm work, but the ox emoji is applied to bovines more generally, including as a stand for the zodiac sign of the Taurus (bull) in Western astrology and in the Chinese Zodiac (Year of the Ox). The ox emoji spiked in 2016 thanks to boy-band One Direction’s Niall Horan, who was dating a Taurus.
If the eggplant and peach emoji have taught us anything, it’s that people are pretty clever at adapting emoji for their own purposes. And so, because the ox emoji looks like a bull, people pair it with the pile of poo emoji to create the word bullshit. Clever.
Ever been told you can’t drink if you want to lose fat?🍺🍷
— LDNM (@LDN_Muscle) July 30, 2016
Who uses ?
The ox emoji sees wide use on social media to express that someone is a Taurus, born roughly between April 20th to about May 21st on the Western calendar, or alongside Taurus-based horoscopes.
In this way, the emoji is frequently paired with the actual Taurus emoji.
IT’S TAURUS SEASON .. S/O TO ALL MY TAURUS BABIES… I LOVE Y’ALL SM ..😭❤️🐂♉️
— bean 🧡 (@_DimplesNCurls) May 1, 2018
People of Chinese descent or interested in Chinese culture use the ox emoji to signify they were born in a Year of the Ox. Expect to see a lot of use for the emoji in the next one, 2021, around Chinese New Year.
— Peter (@peterblanco) January 28, 2017
Sports teams whose mascots are the Bulls or Longhorns love this emoji on social media, using it with mascot-related slogans like #HookEm or the steer-imitating gesture, 🤘, sign of the horns emoji.
— G O L D 🌟 (@danielbiglow) July 30, 2016
As a so-called beast of burden, people sometimes add the ox emoji when describing someone as a beast or just an “excellent person,” especially in sports or music.
He’s a beast 🐂 https://t.co/OiwMscnz2I
— VAWSE (@VAWSE) May 2, 2017
And, then there’s its use to signify pure bullshit:
Yall a bunch of bull shitters 🐂💩
— BlanchySenpai 🦍♿️ (@BrazyBlanchh) June 21, 2015
Last but not least, people do use the ox emoji when literally referring to the animal, whether on the farm or at the rodeo. Yeehaw.