July 17 is World Emoji Day, a day to celebrate all of those wonderful smileys and symbols you use to amuse your friends and confuse your grandparents. To celebrate, we’ve rounded up the most popular emoji that our users have been looking up on Dictionary.com since the last World Emoji day. (It was quite a different world then, wasn’t it?)
But first, you might be wondering why July 17 is considered World Emoji Day. On July 17, 2002, Apple released the calendar app iCal, which used as its icon a calendar that marked the app’s release date. Ever since, Apple displays July 17 as the date on most calendar-themed emoji, notably the Calendar emoji 📅. Over time, other platforms such as Google, Samsung, and Mozilla, began to use July 17 on their calendar emoji as well. So, as a nod to Apple’s calendar emoji, in 2014 Emojipedia.com chose July 17 as World Emoji Day.
Without further ado, here is the list of our top-10 most viewed emoji. You’ll see that people are really interested in smileys and hearts—what do you think that reveals about our favorite emoji? Are you surprised which emoji made the list? Is your favorite on the list? What does your own top 10 look like?
People just looooove their emoji. However, some get a bit confused about the meaning of this love-struck glyph. This emoji can be used to express how much people love pets, cars, breathtaking landscapes, and polka music (just us?). However, when it is used to express how much someone likes a person, things can get more confusing. It seems to be unclear to our users whether their crush is using this emoji to say they like them or that they like them-like them?
9. Hugging Face emoji 🤗
There, there. It’s OK. Sometimes, figuring out emoji can be hard, and you just need a hug to get through it. This emoji appears simple enough when you know its name, but some people are left wondering what this emoji (which sometimes sports some disturbingly realistic hands) is supposed to be: a jazz performer? A patty-cake enthusiast? An emoji that’s getting a little too handsy? The possibilities are endless!
8. Raising Hands emoji 🙌
Gimme ten! At first glance, this celebratory, praise-be pair of hands could really mean anything. Our users may be curious as to whether there’s any special meaning to this emoji: does it mean something in sign language? Is it considered a rude gesture somewhere? Is it the secret handshake that gets you into all those underground, exclusive clubs that totally exist? Spoiler: the answer, at least to that last one, is “no.”
Smooches! Most of us can probably tell what this kissy emoji is supposed to represent. But you may wonder if this emoji is flirty or just affectionate. Much like #10, Smiling Face with Heart-Shaped Eyes emoji 😍, this emoji can cause awkward mixed signals. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell if this emoji means that somebody is in love with you or that they love you like a brother.
6. Black Heart emoji 🖤
What could a black heart possibly mean? It’s not a symbol commonly linked with passion or romance, and black hearts might call to mind goths and fans of emo music. Au contraire! This emoji is often used in tweets about beautiful people in black clothing or majestic black animals. After the protests following the death of George Floyd, it’s also been used in many tweets showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s no wonder our users need to know the many, complex meanings of this emoji.
5. Eyes emoji 👀
We can all see, right, what this emoji is supposed to be? An at-once creepy and cartoonish pair of eyeballs. But why did somebody end a social media post about your handsome cousin with a risqué joke and a pair of eyes? You see, there are a lot of different meanings behind these peepers. Is someone detecting some drama? Is the new superhero movie a real eye-opener? Is someone giving you the ol’ side eye? Whatever the case, it appears our users are giving this emoji a second glance.
4. Red Heart emoji ❤️
We’re starting to see a pattern here, and it isn’t our bad eye puns. Coming in at #4, Red Heart emoji ❤️ can send some mixed messages. Did someone punctuate a DM to you with a red heart because they want to be more than just friends? People really seem to need a lot of help figuring out if emoji are flirty or not. Look, we can tell you what an emoji means, but romantic advice is outside our area of expertise.
3. Yellow Heart emoji 💛
Emoji hearts come in many colors, but what do all the colors mean? Well, yellow is traditionally a color associated with friendship and the yellow ribbons that show support of the US military. You may know that the Yellow Heart emoji 💛 is used in expressions of joy between friends, but did you know that this emoji has a special meaning on Snapchat? The desire to learn this particular meaning may have helped bump up Yellow Heart emoji 💛 on this list.
The runner-up spot on our list goes to a real head-turner of an emoji. Just what on Earth is an upside-down smiley face supposed to represent? Sadness? A love of bats? Happiness as seen from the Southern Hemisphere? It seems this topsy-turvy emoji is confusing a lot of people and for good reason: this ambiguous emoji can represent anything from silliness and sarcasm to frustrated exasperation. It really should be no surprise such a perplexing emoji has turned so many worlds upside-down and claimed the silver medal on our list.
1. Eggplant emoji 🍆
And, of course, taking the #1 spot is the Eggplant emoji 🍆. It makes sense, really. The humble eggplant gives off the veneer of being just a simple vegetable, but behind that long, purple surface lies the complex ambiguity that lurks within us all. Seriously though, does anyone even use Eggplant emoji 🍆 to symbolize actual eggplants anymore? Even if people know the double meaning of Eggplant emoji 🍆, the desire to know how an eggplant became so sexy probably helped propel it to first place.
The honorable mentions
And for those of you still emoji-curious, here are the rest of the top 25 most viewed emoji, in ascending order. If you want to know the meanings behind these tricky emoji, click through to learn more!