What Does That Emoji Icon Mean Anyway?
If you’re new to Emoji, you’ll be forgiven for not knowing just what some of these icons and characters are supposed to mean. Many are common sense, while others are a bit of a mystery, but there’s an easy way to find out what a specific Emoji character means just by looking at the icon in the Special Character selector of Mac OS X.
This panel should be available in just about any Mac app that allows keyboard input, but we’ll use TextEdit as an example.
How to Get Emoji Meanings & Definitions on a Mac
Here is how to find Emoji meanings through the special character panel in Mac OS X:
- Access the full Emoji panel in one of two ways:
- Use the Control+Command+Space keyboard shortcut for Emoji access and then click the little Command symbol next to the Search box, or
- Pull down the “Edit” menu and select “Special Characters”, then select “Emoji” from the left side menu to access all available icons
- Once you’re in the full Emoji character viewer section, locate the Emoji you want to define or get the meaning for
- Click on the Emoji icon you want to find the meaning or definition for to reveal it’s intended meaning
The example above shows the infamous “Pile of Poo”, which also happens to be it’s defined meaning.
You can find these little descriptions for any of the Emoji contained in the panel, but because many new Emoji icons are appearing or changing, like the skin tone diversity emoji, not all of them will be available on the Mac emoji keyboard of some versions of Mac OS X and iOS, but that really depends on what version of Mac OS X you’re using.
Emoji definitions aren’t available in the same way on the iOS keyboard though, so users of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch will have to use this ‘speak Emoji’ trick to get a definition on an iPhone or iPad that way:
The Speak trick is funny also because Siri will vocalize what the Emoji means, sometimes to hilarious effect, depending on which one you choose to get the meaning of.
And yes, the speak trick does work to define Emoji on Mac as well.
Or, iOS users may just have to continue taking their best guesses, a smiley face is pretty obvious, as is a heart, but some of the more curious ones out there, who knows, maybe the meaning is found in the intention if not the definition.