Emoji dictionary

๐Ÿ™ˆ, ๐Ÿ™‰, ๐Ÿ™Š Three Wise Monkey emoji

[see nohย ee-vuhโ€‰l,ย  heer nohย ee-vuhโ€‰l, or speek nohย ee-vuhโ€‰lย muhng-kee ih-moh-jee]

What doesย ๐Ÿ™ˆ See No Evil Monkey emoji ,ย ๐Ÿ™‰ Hear No Evil Monkey emoji, andย ๐Ÿ™Š Speak No Evil Monkey emoji mean?

The seeno-evil monkey emoji depicts the face of a monkey covered with the monkey’s hands. Most versions show the monkey’s mouth in a slight smile, which almost hints at a “hide or seek”ย  game, and it’s used in a wide variety of contexts such as, “Did I really say that?” to “I won’t tell a soul.”

Similarly, theย hear-no-evil monkey is used when people hear things they shouldn’t have or didn’t want to hear.

And, we bet you can guess what theย say-no-evil monkey emoji is used for … yup, when you just blurted out the wrong thing in the wrong situation. Nice job.

But “see no evil” is part of the proverb, โ€œsee no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,” and is meant to carry a more significant message.

Related words

infinity symbol, ๐Ÿˆน Circled Ideograph Congratulation emoji, ๐ŸŒธ Cherry Blossom emoji, ๐Ÿ•‰๏ธ Om Symbol emoji, Monchhichi, finger monkey

Where does ๐Ÿ™ˆ, ๐Ÿ™‰, ๐Ÿ™Š Three Wise Monkey emoji come from?

The Telegraph

The ancient Japanese proverb โ€œsee no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” was popularized in the 17th century as a pictorial Shinto maxim, carved in the famous Tลshล-gลซ Shinto shrine in Nikkล, Japan.

Three Wise Monkeys illustrated the idea of protecting one’s self from unsavory or challenging behavior, thought, or language. The saying embraces a Buddhist tenet of not dwelling on evil thoughts, though in Western cultures, the adage is colored with the idea of pretending to be ignorant or choosing to look the other way, and it implies some question of character.

Monkeys are important in the Shinto religion, and the adage was represented with three monkeys in the carving: Wise monkey Mizaru, covers his eyes, and sees no evil; Kikazaru covers his ears, and hears no evil; and Iwazaru covers his mouth, and speaks no evil.

Early Chinese Confucian philosophy certainly played a role in the birth of the adage, as a Confucian phrase from the third or fourth century B.C. reads, “Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety.โ€

Early Buddhist and Hindu versions of the idea varied, and in some illustrations there was a fourth monkey that referred to that last principle in the Confucian expression. The monkey, Shizaru, symbolized “do no evil,” and was shown either crossing his arms or covering his genitals. The Hindu interpretation of the fourth monkey was more along the lines of “don’t flaunt your happiness” than “don’t do evil things.”

The see-no-evil Mizaru emojiโ€” like its cohorts, Kikazaru and Iwazaruโ€”was approved as part of Unicode 6.0 in 2010 and added to Emoji 1.0 in 2015. And, like its cohorts, the emoji is often used in lighthearted ways, and certainly not with the serious thought its creators intended.

But, hey, that’s what happens when a couple of thousands of years pass. If the core concepts of the maxim remain, well, that’s pretty impressive, right?

Examples of ๐Ÿ™ˆ, ๐Ÿ™‰, ๐Ÿ™Š Three Wise Monkey emoji

movie dates are too expensive to sit next to someone for 2hrs then text them later saying " I should have kissed you ๐Ÿ™ˆ" no ways
@Mashale_P, September, 2018
Told my mom that I am not able to focus today. She watched TVD with me. Iโ€™m blessed.โค๏ธ๐Ÿ™‰๐Ÿ™ˆ
@meenastaycalm, September, 2018
๐Ÿ™Š ๐Ÿ™ˆ ๐Ÿ™‰ nixon was wrongly persecuted by a disgruntled employee is a take i did not see coming
@gina_goldberg, September, 2018

Who uses ๐Ÿ™ˆ, ๐Ÿ™‰, ๐Ÿ™Š Three Wise Monkey emoji?

People use the see-no-evil monkey emoji and its counterparts in a variety of ways, and as noted above, they’re seldom used with the original meaning with which the saying was created for.

All three wise monkey emoji enjoy popularity because monkeys are cute, and the covering of one’s ears or mouth has a way of conveying a feeling with few words: embarrassment, surprise, self-deprecation, questioning, and “la la la, I can’t hear you!” to name a few.

For example, although the three wise monkeys in unified pose don’t seem quite adequate for the inspirational thought expressed here, we think we get the real idea at play here. Poor little chimp, the butt of the joke: the three monkeys together convey a sense of “Do you even see this? I can’t believe what I’m seeing/hearing, and I’m covering my mouth so I don’t laugh too loud!”

When used for sheer cuteness, the wisdom of the ages goes right out the window:

Sometimes the monkeys are clearly used incorrectly, as in this post where the idea might have been hands slapping the side the of the face in surprise and joyโ€”but that’s not what Kikazaru is all about!

And, Kikazaru is clearly being employed here in a way he didn’t intend:

The use of two of the monkeys here helps this poster say, “I’m a bit embarrassed so I’m covering my eyes/face, and I’ll cover my mouth for good measure” (or, “I can’t believe I said/do this!”).

And here, Corrina is clearly very embarrassed. We get it!

It’s difficult to find posts where the Three Wise Monkeys are actually doing the job they were hired to do. This post comes closeโ€”the Buddhist intent works: All three wise monkeys are lined up to banish evil thoughts.

And, we come back to simply … monkeys. Because, monkeys!

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of ๐Ÿ™ˆ, ๐Ÿ™‰, ๐Ÿ™Š Three Wise Monkey emoji like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of ๐Ÿ™ˆ, ๐Ÿ™‰, ๐Ÿ™Š Three Wise Monkey emoji that will help our users expand their word mastery.