11 New And Handy Emoji We’ll See In 2020

Have you been waiting for a ninja emoji? Or a chance to showcase your love of boomerangs (with a boomerang emoji)? Or were you just hoping to profess your passion for the environment with a polar bear emoji 🐻‍❄️? Well, 2020 has made your fondest emoji wishes come true.

The Unicode Consortium's latest emoji update, known as Emoji 13.0, was released in January 2020. It includes 117 new emoji representing everything from animals (even extinct ones, like the dodo) to everyday items, like a plunger. 

Look for these new emoji on your devices as platforms release their versions of them through the year. So far, as of May 2020, you can find the pictographic newcomers on Twitter. Until other platforms, like Apple who usually releases new emoji in the fall, support Emoji 13.0, the new emoji will display as empty boxes or the like.

But the real headline about these new emoji is that many represent an effort to make depictions of people more inclusive of a variety of gender and sexual representations and roles. For example, we now have a new Mx. Claus, for instance, showing a gender-neutral Santa Claus.

Here are some of the new emoji for 2020. We're excited about what they represent—and eager to discover the creative ways people will put them to use.

transgender flag emoji 🏳️‍⚧️

The transgender flag was created in 1999 by Monica Helms for the 2000 Phoenix pride celebration. The top and bottom stripes are light blue, a traditional color for boys. The middle two stripes are light pink, symbolizing the female gender. The center stripe is white, for those who are intersex, fluid, or have no fixed gender.

Since 2016, trans activists and allies have been working to get the transgender flag emoji 🏳️‍⚧️ approved by the Unicode Consortium as an emoji. (In the meantime, some promoted the use of the lobster emoji 🦞 instead as part of the #ClawsOutForTrans hashtag movement.) While the consortium debated, some platforms, like Twitter, jumped ahead and implemented a transgender flag emoji of their own. In early 2020, the consortium finally approved the transgender flag emoji. It is made up of a sequence of the waving white flag emoji 🏳️ and transgender sign emoji ⚧️.

The transgender flag emoji is used to signify pride in trans identity.

Mx. Claus emoji 🧑‍🎄

In addition to the existing Santa Claus 🎅 and Mrs. Claus 🤶 emoji, Emoji 13.0 includes a new Mx. Claus emoji 🧑‍🎄. This emoji is part of a wider effort to include more gender-neutral depictions of people in emoji form. The honorific or title Mx. dates back to the late 1970s. It is used instead of the traditional Mrs. or Mr. for those who do not identify as either male or female.

The Mx. Claus emoji depicts a person without a beard with gray hair wearing a traditional Santa Claus hat (red with white trim). It is available in a variety of skin tones but defaults to yellow. The Mx. Claus emoji is made with a combination of a person emoji 🧑 and a Christmas tree emoji 🎄 with a zero-width joiner.

People use the Mx. Claus emoji for—what else—all things Christmas!

Do you know what Mr. and Mrs. are short for? Check here!

tuxedo emoji | veil emoji

Also new in 2020 are emoji featuring people dressed for a wedding—in tuxedos or veils with a white dress. In keeping with the new approach to provide more gender expressions in emoji form, both new outfits are available with male and female avatars, with multiple skin tone options. All told, that's 24 new emoji, ready for their wedding day (or just a fun party)!

People use the tux-and-veil pair to represent weddings and wedding celebrations. However, the man in a tuxedo emoji 🤵‍♂️ is also used on its own to indicate a well-dressed man.

person feeding baby emoji 🧑‍🍼

Babies are super cute. They also eat a lot. There's already a breastfeeding emoji 🤱, but now there is also a bottle-feeding emoji 🧑‍🍼, too! The person feeding baby emoji shows an adult cradling a baby in their left arm holding a bottle full of liquid in their right hand. In depictions of the adult, they are usually looking down at the baby and smiling.

Like the other emoji we've discussed, the person feeding baby emoji comes with male, female, and non-gendered avatars in five different skin tone options. People use the person feeding baby emoji when talking about childrearing—not just feeding babies, but also raising kids generally.

On a less positive note, people have used the person feeding baby emoji to imply that someone is a childish baby.

ninja emoji

The word ninja comes from Japanese and was adapted into English in the 1960s. But ninja, or shinobi, have been around for millennia. They were a force trained as spies and secret agents, particularly around the 1400s. In modern popular imagination, ninjas embody action heroes—masked, tough in martial arts and swordplay, and very good at sneaking.

While there are no more real ninja in Japan (although you can find plenty at ComiCon), as of 2020 there is a ninja emoji. The emoji shows a pop-culture image of a ninja—a person with a face covering that shows only their eyes with a sword (a katana, presumably) strapped to their back. Anything and everything ninja-related—from fan art to movies to costumes is decorated with the brand-new ninja emoji.

Is the word ninja culturally appropriated? Read about that debate here.

pinched fingers emoji

Ma che vuoi? What are you saying? This Italian expression (and hand gesture) now has its own emoji, the pinched fingers emoji. Italians are well known for speaking with their hands, and the ma che vuoi expression is a popular one.

The emoji shows a hand held palm-up with the fingers and thumb held together. This gesture is sometimes known as a "finger purse." Its literal meaning is "what are you saying?" and it also can be used to express irritation, incredulity, or annoyance.

This gesture isn't only used in Italy. In some Arab cultures, it is a gesture a mother might use toward their child to get their attention. In Israel, it can be used to convey annoyance. In parts of India, it can be used to ask whether someone is hungry. In other words, there are a lot of possible uses of the pinched fingers emoji depending on where you are in the world!

disguised face emoji

In the 1930s and '40s, the Marx Brothers family act starred in the legendary classic comedies Duck Soup (1933) and A Night at the Opera (1935). The most famous of the brothers was Groucho Marx, who was instantly recognizable thanks to his glasses and bushy moustache and eyebrows. Capitalizing on his popularity, shops in the United States sold so-called Groucho glasses, or joke glasses with his signature facial hair attached.

All that said, Groucho Marx would love this next emoji: the disguised face emoji. It shows a face with a large moustache, bushy eyebrows, large nose, and glasses—his classic look.

dodo emoji

New animals are constantly added to emoji. But Emoji 13.0 includes one animal that none of us have ever seen: the dodo. The dodo was a flightless bird that lived on the island of Mauritius and other islands in the Indian Ocean until it became extinct by 1681. It is recognized as a symbol of man-made extinction due to overhunting.

However, based on recent tweets, it seems the poor dodo is not recognized by users and is confused with seagulls, pigeons, or other large birds. Rough.

lungs emoji

One of the defining events of 2020 has been the worldwide spread of COVID-19, a highly infectious respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus that has prompted the largest public health crisis in a century. The lungs emoji, which depicts an anatomical rendering of a set of lungs, has been used in tweets about this crisis. It is also used in other medical contexts, including discussing quitting smoking and other respiratory illnesses.

In a less serious context, the lungs emoji is used by people talking more generally about the good advice to stop and take a deep breath every once in a while.

potted plant emoji

There are many plant emoji already, but in 2020 an adorable new addition was made to the emoji nursery: the potted plant emoji. The emoji depicts a green houseplant in a pot, though the type of plant and pot varies from platform to platform. On Twitter, the plant is represented as a kind of fern.

People use the potted plant emoji to talk about gardening generally—often along with other plant emoji. Because why limit yourself to just one virtual houseplant? It's not like it will die if you forget to water it …

magic wand emoji

Wannabe witches and wizards got their wish when the magic wand emoji debuted in 2020. The magic wand emoji shows a traditional magician's wand—black with white tips—illustrated with starbursts to indicate a magic spell.

While it is not clear yet if the magic wand emoji is good for real incantations, people are happy to use it when discussing magic, spells, or anything remotely witchy. People also use it to indicate that someone has done something so extraordinary, particularly in sports, or that they have seen something so incredible, that it must be magic.

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