What Are The Differences Between These Emoji Faces?

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As we all know, it can be tough to tell someone's tone online. Are they being sarcastic? Are they joking? Or, are they mad and telling you what's what?

Enter emoji smileys. These faces range from the simple, like smiling face with smiling eyes 😊, to the adventurous, such as face with cowboy hat, 🤠, to help us convey our feelings over text or on social media.

But, for all the emotional support they give us, it's still not always clear what these emoji emoters are meant to show. That's why we've rounded up some of them. You'll laugh, you'll cry … or, at least, the emoji will.

laughing emoji faces

Have you ever laughed so hard you cried? That's what face with tears of joy 😂 and rolling on the floor laughing 🤣 are meant to represent.

The face with tears of joy emoji can be used as an emotional tone marker to express amusement and joviality when someone says or does something funny or embarrassing. The rolling on the floor laughing emoji is a more intensive version, used as a reaction to something extremely hilarious.

While not as popular as the face with tears of joy emoji (a leading emoji around the globe), rolling on the floor laughing emoji is seeing increasing use in the late 2010s to convey more heightened levels of hilarity. The two, in fact, are often used together.

scared emoji faces

The world can be a scary place. Good thing we have emoji faces to show we're shaking in our boots.

Fearful face 😨 expresses a blend of surprise and fear, concern and angst. Its blue shading at the top of its head is meant to represent pallor, as if someone has lost their color or is in a cold sweat.

This emoji, however, hasn't exactly seen a ghost, like 😱, face screaming in fear. Resembling Edvard Munch's famous painting "The Scream," face screaming in fear emoji is often used to express extremes of emotion, both positive and negative. You know, the kinds of feelings that might make you scream in horror ... or joy, like if you met your favorite celebrity.

flirty emoji faces

One of the hardest emotions to express in text is flirtatiousness. It's so awkward when you try to use innuendo on social media ... and people take you literally. That's where these teasing, playful emoji come in.

Let's start with the basics: winking face 😉. The winking face emoji is a go-to emoji for flirtatious situations. This emoji is also a useful way to indicate a joke or let the reader in on a secret. It can also be used to hint at desirable outcomes or to prod someone to take a particular action.

Another flirty emoji is face with tongue 😛. It's playful, cheeky, and sassy. It can also imply a joke or a bit of lasciviousness. It says “I feel goofy!” or, sometimes, “I feel frisky!”

Flirty texters use the smirking face 😏 to ensure their sexier intentions come across loud and clear. But, it can also be a way to tag a silly joke, sans innuendo.

silent emoji faces

Some things are better left unspoken. That's the idea, anyway, behind these emoji faces that show or insinuate silence.

For starters, there's shushing face 🤫. The shushing face emoji is holding a finger to its lips. You can almost hear the shh coming from its mouth. Sometimes it's used to tell someone to be quiet. Other times, it's as if it's letting someone in on a secret: "Don't tell anyone, but ..."

Zipper-mouth face 🤐 is similar. It has a wide tonal range, suggesting everything from "not a lot of talking going on here" to "don't talk about it." Its intent is often along the lines of "keep your mouth shut," à la what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

On a slightly different note, there's also face without mouth 😶. This emoji can be used as a tone marker to indicate sadness, loneliness, disappointment, emptiness, and genuine self-deprecation. It can also be used more literally for "speechlessness" or to represent zipping one’s lips. In some uses, it represents being sheepish too.

love emoji faces

Who doesn't love love? Emoji certainly do. There are loads of different heart emoji to express all your fond feelings, of course. But, there is also a host of loving smileys, such as smiling face with heart-shaped eyes 😍 and face blowing a kiss 😘.

The smiling face with heart-shaped eyes emoji is associated with adoration, love, or extreme positivity toward a specific subject (romantic or not). No matter the object that warrants this emoji’s use, it functions as a shorthand for “I love this.” The hearts in its eyes say it all.

The face blowing a kiss emoji is more romantic. It is widely used to express that romantic affection or appreciation for someone or something. This emoji sees extensive use in text and instant messages to give a digital “kiss goodbye” or “kiss goodnight.” Aw 💖.

wonky, woozy, drool-y emoji faces

We humans can be gross. We drool. We puke. We get sloppy. That's where these emoji come in.

If you're over-exhausted ... or have had a few too many, woozy face 🥴 is the way to go. When it was first approved by Unicode in 2018, people suggested some super gross ideas for what it meant: the face you make when you are trying to push out a fart, when you burp and blow it out the side of your face, or when you have (or are about to have) diarrhea. Intoxication and infatuation, however, are leading senses cited by Emojipedia.

Another messy-mugged emoji is drooling face 🤤. This emoji can be used to convey lust and longing as well as a need for nap time—a less sexy time to drool. People seen as stupid are sometimes mocked as slobbering and slack-jawed, so the emoji also sometimes gets used to call someone or something "idiotic." Not a use we approve of to be sure.

Perhaps the grossest emoji of them all is face with open mouth vomiting 🤮, with its toxic-sludge-green waterfall of puke. People often use the face vomiting emoji for any reason or situation in which they would throw up in real life. This includes everything from morning sickness and bad hangovers to food poisoning and the flu. The face vomiting emoji is also often used as a reaction to something perceived as ugly, gross, or repulsive.

sad emoji faces

Life has its ups and downs. So do emoji.

For those moments when things bum you out, there's disappointed face 😞. People use it for everything from when a pet passes away to when they couldn't get tickets to the Beyoncé concert. On some platforms, when you type in the emoticon :(, it will auto-supply the disappointed face emoji. That makes it a very common emoji, essentially used as a go-to sad face, as the emoji is indeed sometimes called.

Sometimes when we're sad, we cry, like crying face 😢. This emoji is used not only to express one's own emotional state, but to empathize with others. A favorite emoji when it comes to texting or posting about bad news, the crying face emoji is also useful to convey a sense of quiet despair, disappointment, malaise, and general sadness. It’s also used in much lighter situations and doesn’t always imply true unhappiness.

And, sometimes when we cry, we cry a lot. Loudly crying 😭 shows a smiley that is crying uncontrollably—it just can't handle it and is losing its cool. This could be due to sadness and frustration ... but also laughter and joy. Fans like to use the emoji when they meet or see their favorite music performers or celebrities, as if they are sobbing in excitement.

money-mouth face emoji

Money … it makes the world go 'round, or so they say. It's actually gravity and angular momentum, but hey, we're just a dictionary.

Anyways, money-mouth face 🤑 is all about that green. People using money-mouth face emoji are usually expressing a love or appreciation of money … or an all-consuming desire for it. The emoji can also be used in money-related contexts, such as the job market, earning making, banking, and cryptocurrency.

Social media posts using the money-mouth face emoji are expressing the idea of "the good life" that is so often thought to come from material success. Because we all know that's the truth right ...

thinking face emoji

I think, therefore I am ... an emoji. Thinking face 🤔, shown with a raised eyebrow and scratching its chin, is variously used to convey questions, ideas, and contemplation.

When paired with thought balloon 💭 or light bulb 💡, thinking face can be more literal, meant to convey someone is asking a question or lost in thought.

However, thinking face is widely used online to show skepticism or doubt about someone or something puzzling, objectionable, or confusing, as if saying, "Hmm, I don't know ..." or "Um, I don't think so ..."

upside-down face emoji

Some emoji faces don't have a clear meaning. Its meaning is in the eye of the beholder … or the user. That's the case with upside-down face 🙃. It can indicate silliness, sarcasm, irony, passive aggression, frustrated resignation, or yet more emotions that have us all feeling topsy-turvy.

Sometimes upside-down face emoji communicates a comic misfortune, showing the user is “smiling through the pain.” More seriously, it can convey someone is muscling their way through undesirable circumstances.

In other contexts, it has an undercurrent of "Ugh!" or “Why me?" It’s used even for an emotion that can only be described as “This is fine,” à la a certain meme dog sitting in a burning room with a smile on its face.

face with cowboy hat emoji

Before we ride off into the sunset, let's say howdy to face with cowboy hat 🤠, with its goofy grin and brown cowboy hat.

In texts and online, the face with cowboy hat emoji is often used to identify American “country,” ranging from cowboy boot fashion and being Texas proud to twanging along to some honky-tonk and trying to, well, sound American.

But, more figuratively, the face with cowboy hat emoji can also express a kind of giddy-up glee, like a cowboy saddling up, or can-do confidence, such as a sheriff in charge. Yee haw.

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