12 Emojis You Thought You Knew and Their Actual Meaning

emojis with meaning

As a marketer, before you use an emoji in your next campaign, you need to have its meaning on lock.

Everyone knows what the smiley face emoji, crying face/sad face emoji, laughing emoji, and the like mean.

We don’t have to explain those or their many variations, as the definitions are incredibly straightforward.

What about the padlock? Or the red circle? Or maybe the emoji face that looks like he’s snorting smoke? What in the world are they supposed to mean?

Confused Always Sunny GIF by It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Source: Giphy

In today’s blog post, we’ll investigate some often misunderstood emojis. We’ll tell you what they really mean, so you can leave the confusion behind you and text them out with peace of mind 😄

Here’s a summary of some of the emojis and their meanings:

Emoji symbol Emoji Name Original meaning
🔒 Padlock Security, safety
Hollow red circle Correct/right (Japanese-style)
🔰 Multicolored chevron New
💓 Beating/vibrating heart Beating heart
💫 Comet star Starstruck/dizziness
🙇 Bowing person Bowing as a sign of respect
💁‍♀️ Information desk women Offering assistance/answers/guidance
🙆🏼‍♀️ Arms raised overhead women Gesturing OK
🙏 Folded hands Saying thank you/please
😤 Snorting smoke face Expression of triumph
😲 Astonished face Look of astonishment
🤗 Hugs Offering a hug

You can also copy these emojis and paste them wherever you want!

1. Padlock

Locked on Apple iOS 15.4
Source: iEmoji 

There are several lock emojis to select from. One is a closed lock, one is slightly open, another is a padlock with a key (you can’t tell if the lock is open or closed), and there’s also a padlock with a pen covering it diagonally.

All denote the same meaning: security. Well, except maybe for the open padlock. That doesn’t feel very secure.

You can put your customers’ minds at ease by sending an email or making a social media post with some variation of the padlock emoji.

2. Hollow Red Circle

Hollow Red Circle on Apple iOS 15.4
Source: Emojipedia

The hollow red circle emoji, as you’ll see above, is not the same as the stop emoji, which features a diagonal red line in the center of the circle.

Most people assume the red circle emoji should be used purely for decoration, but there is an emoji meaning behind it.

If you’ve read our posts on emojis lately, then you’ll recall that it was Japan that really popularized and advanced the concept of emojis.

Thus, a lot of emojis you see on your smartphone today, even if you live in an entirely different country, are steeped in Japanese culture.

This red circle is one of them.

In Japan, an X means incorrect, and a circle means correct. Thus, the hollow red circle should be used when something is done right.

However, we’d recommend you use this emoji just occasionally, as a lot of people don’t understand its context. They see red and would assume it’s incorrect, even though that’s the opposite of what it means!

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3. Multicolored Chevron

Japanese Symbol for Beginner on Apple iOS 15.4
Source: JoyPixels

Have you ever seen this emoji symbol and wondered what in the world it means? It’s a two-toned chevron with a half-yellow, half-teal base.

The other half of the chevron sometimes looks green depending on your phone model.

This is another of those emojis that comes straight from Japan. If you’re just learning to drive in Japan, you have to put this chevron on your vehicle to denote that you’re new.

It’s sort of like how you’ll see cars marked “student driver” in the United States.

The official name for the chevron is the shoshinsha mark. You can use it to indicate that someone or something is new.

4. Heart with Vibrations

Beating Heart on Apple iOS 15.4
Source: Emojis Wiki

There’s a heart for every situation in the emojis library. You can choose from red hearts, pink hearts, purple hearts, green hearts, and even black hearts.

You can send a sparkling heart, a heart with an arrow through it, or two hearts.

The heart with the vibrating lines emerging from it may seem like another take on the decorative heart emoji trend, but there’s more to it than that.

Those lines do refer to movement, as the heart is beating!

beating heart love GIF
Source: Giphy

When you want your customers’ hearts to skip a beat, you might pull out this emoji to send with your tantalizing new offer.

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5. Comet Star

Dizzy on Apple iOS 15.4
Source: Emojis Wiki

Emoji symbols like this star might seem cut and dried, right? It’s merely a pretty star emoji, one of many, that features a comet-like gold ring around the star.

Maybe you should use this one during those rare instances when a comet is on the horizon?

Nope, actually, that’s not what this emoji means at all!

Instead, it’s supposed to represent dizziness, as in being starstruck.

Some people use the star-eyed emoji for that purpose, but you should really use this one.

6. Bowing Person

Man Bowing on Apple iOS 15.4
Source: iEmoji

Now let’s move on to some human-based emojis. This next one features a man or a woman in a supine pose.

They may be doing push-ups (well, technically, they’d be in between a pushup) or lying down on their bellies. It’s hard to say, right?

The four triangular lines above the person’s head as well as their submissive, almost scared look (at least for iPhones) don’t help matters.

What in the world does this emoji mean?

Well, it’s yet another Japanese-inspired emoji that’s showcasing a man or woman bowing. In Japan, bowing is a sign of respect, so you might use this emoji in a similar fashion.

bow bowing GIF
Source: Giphy

7. Information Desk Woman

Woman Tipping Hand on Apple iOS 15.4
Source: iEmoji

The meaning of an emoji of a woman with her hand tipped out is hard to decipher, at least at first glance.

A lot of people think she’s showcasing her cute new haircut. While that’s a good guess, it’s not exactly what’s happening here.

Instead, this emoji is known as the information desk woman. She’s supposed to be guiding you towards a destination. Who knew!

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8. Arms Raised Over Head Woman

🙆‍♀️ Woman Gesturing OK Emoji — Meaning, Copy & Paste
Source: Emojis Wiki

Here’s an emoji that you might not use all that often. It features a person with their arms raised over their heads.

They look like maybe they’re trying to do the YMCA dance. Or the wave?

Look again. The emoji has its hands over its head in an O shape, right? They’re making the first of the two letters in OK to represent that they’re a-okay.

Of course, if you wanted to use this emoji to say that it’s party time or that you’re ready to dance, that’s fine too.

9. Folded Hands

Folded Hands on Apple iOS 15.4
Source: iEmoji

This emoji is perceived differently depending on which part of the world you live in, which is fair.

If you asked most people, they would say this is the praying emoji. The open hands pressed palms together is how you pray, after all.

Some people don’t think the hands both belong to the same person but that it’s two different hands high-fiving. That’s certainly another interpretation.

Yet considering the Japanese origins of this and many other emojis, the true meaning is different. In Japan, this folded hands emoji is a means of saying thank you or please.

Either way you slice it, this is a hopeful, pleasant emoji.

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10. Snorting Smoke Face

😤 Face With Steam From Nose Emoji — Meaning In Texting, Copy & Paste 📚
Source: Emojis Wiki

Now let’s talk about some smiley face emojis, as the meaning of them all isn’t inherently clear.

Take, for example, this emoji. We’ve all seen him looking angry and blowing smoke out of what would be his nose if emojis had noses.

This emoji must be mad as all heck, isn’t that correct?

Well, you would think so, but the official meaning of this emoji is supposed to be an expression of triumph. We’re not sure how you look when you’re triumphant, but it’s usually not like that.

11. Astonished Face

Astonished Face on Apple iOS 15.4
Source: iEmoji

The astonished face is another face emoji we want to decode.

Admittedly, this emoji doesn’t have the most complex meaning. After all, it looks surprised, and being astonished and surprised aren’t worlds apart.

Still, isn’t it nice to know how to use this emoji going forward?

12. Hug Emoji

Smiling Face with Open Hands on Apple iOS 15.4
Source: Emoji Island

The last on our list of emoji meanings is this guy here.

Many people assume this rosy-cheeked smiley is throwing jazz hands and is quite pleased about it.

Actually, the presence of the oddly humanoid hands on this emoji is supposed to represent giving a hug. There’s not yet a better hug emoji, so you’ll have to settle for this one!

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Wrap Up

Emojis can be tough to understand, especially when there’s no clear meaning for some of them. People ascribe their own meanings to certain emojis, and they (kind of) become the prevalent meanings.

Even if you don’t use every emoji on this list the way it’s supposed to be, at least now you understand the true intention behind the creation of each one!

Thanks for reading the blog post. If you liked it, please share it on your socials, and don’t forget to tag us!

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