Unicode’s New Emojis: 36 of the Most (and Least) Useful

Posted on June 03, 2016, 4:39 pm
16 mins

The Unicode Consortium is blessing us with another batch of emojis this summer, which means we’ll have new ways to flirt and throw shade in visual ways. There are 72 new emojis coming, some of which have been demanded for some time. For all the options out there, I run into emoji gaps all the time, and there are quite a few here that I have wanted, so I’m quite amused.

But the thing about emojis is (just as they are clearly not created by one artist, but in a variety of styles), they also tend to acquire additional meanings. So here are 36 new emojis and their unintended but possible uses.

The Goth Emojis

blackheart emoji bat emoji Wilted rose emoji

It’s about time we got a Black Heart Emoji. You don’t need to identify as goth to recognize that your heart is a festering pit of rage and sorrow, especially in an election year. More important than election coverage are the scads of adorable bat videos I’ve been seeing lately. Whether you cosplay with velvet and fangs or just like animals, the Bat Emoji is a welcome addition. And just in time for the new season of The Bachelorette, we get a wilted rose (officially the Wilted Flower Emoji) for all the times your favorite (or least loathed) suitors get sent home.

Speaking of important decisions that we all wish were already over…

The Election Year Emojis

eagle emoji lying emoji nausea emojiWith constant cries of patriotism, I’m sure we’ll be seeing lots of ironic and unironic uses of the Eagle Emoji. (I still think Ben Franklin was right and our national bird should have been the turkey.) And with constant cries of cheating and deception, we’ll be seeing plenty of the Lying Face Emoji, too. As for the majority of us, I think our general state when bombarded with the media circus can best be summed up with Nauseated Face Emoji. #GreenFaceParty

male dancer handshake emoji fistbump emojiThe Conspiracy Theorist Emojis

Convinced that America is slowly being taken over by enemies from within? That your children are being converted into occultists and terrorists? These emojis will prove that Unicode is in on it, too!

We’ve had a female Dancer Emoji for a long time, but now we get the Man Dancing Emoji, based charmingly on a dated disco move…OR IS IT? Looks to me like he’s demonstrating the occult concept of As Above, So Below! From this alone, it’s plain to see that the people at Unicode Consortium are part of the Illuminati/New World Order. (Uni-code…sounds like…ONE LAW = One world government! Dun dun dunnnn.) But then they REALLY show their true colors when they include the Handshake Emoji…the shaking hands being a known Masonic symbol. Unicode also gives us not one, but TWO Fist Emojis so your children can give each other Terrorist Fist Bumps. They’re all just two fistbumps from joining Daesh. Beware!

The Timely Animal Emojis

owl emojiShark emojigorilla emojiAmong nocturnal flying predators, I think owls are second only to bats in their viral appeal. The Owl Emoji does not (IMHO) adequately convey the constant look of surprise that makes them so endearing in videos. However, it will still be useful when the new season of Twin Peaks begins.

Shark Week is later this month, and the Shark Emoji will conveniently debut right around then, but for anyone who works in a corporate environment, it will serve in other ways.

And as for the Gorilla Emoji, I think I need only say #Harambe.

The Summer Festival Emojis

butterfly emoji cowboy emoji Selfie emojiWith all the big outdoor festivals coming, there are some vital additions to the Unicode lineup. You’ll see plenty of butterflies on ankles and hovering just above denim short shorts, possibly freshly inked from Spring Break, so the Butterfly Emoji could easily become a shorthand for a certain kind of reveler.

More literally, there is Face With Cowboy Hat Emoji, which (though it could be used for actual cowboys and rodeos and Right Wing Terrorists occupying federal land) looks more like a generic wide-brimmed hat—a summer festival essential. It just needs a pair of aviator glasses to be complete.

The summer festival experience would not be complete without constantly broadcasting images of oneself between grainy, obscure images of the stage, so the Selfie Emoji is especially seasonal (though apt year round).

The Pride Month Emojis

Prince emoji croissant emoji milk emojiJune is Pride Month, which means that in many cities you won’t have to get to Coachella or Black Rock Desert to see people near naked, dehydrated and possibly high.

Sure, Unicode may call it the Prince Emoji, but I’ll probably see it used more as a Drag King Emoji. (Granted, in my social circle, 99 times out of a 100 the Princess Emoji is being used by a Drag Queen, but I think part of the reason the Prince Emoji has been so long coming is that men are less likely to portray themselves as a prince than as a warrior of some sort. Hooray for toxic masculinity!)

And while I’m making gross generalizations…let’s talk brunch, the gay rite (not to be confused with gay rights, which has less and less to do with Pride Month, anyways). If you are really partying during the weekend, you are never up early enough for breakfast. You dish about the weekend and what happened the night before at brunch. No emoji has quite captured the delicate but decadent civility of a proper brunch until now. There is a new Pancake Emoji that shows a layer of three atop each other, but again that probably better represents the night’s events. With the Croissant Emoji, we finally have that lighter, more sophisticated Brunch Emoji we so needed. Cheers to that.

And for everyone feeling #thirsty, the bevy of alcoholic emojis available could never adequately express the real desire at hand. That tall Glass of Milk Emoji (dripping with condensation) is perfect for all your thirstiest friends. On that note:

The Hook-Up App Emojis

cucumber emoji baguette emoji Spoon emojiAhem. In lieu of actual filth in the emoji selections, we’ve taken to using a number of key emojis (mostly food items) to get the point across non-verbally. We will now have two more alternatives to the always important Eggplant Emoji: The Cucumber Emoji (AKA the not-quite-an-eggplant emoji) and the Baguette Emoji (AKA the dear-god-no emoji).

And for those nights when you just want to Netflix and Chill for real while eating ice cream straight out of the pint tub, the Spoon Emoji gets the point across perfectly. Just remember, spooning can lead to other things…

The Mom Emojis

pregnant emoji grandma emoji egg emojiFinally, people can announce pregnancies with emojis! The Pregnant Woman Emoji won’t just be handy for expecting women (and the fathers-to-be). After eating too much ice cream from too much Netflix and Chill, we all begin to feel this way. #foodbaby

The Mother Christmas Emoji adds another female figure to the emoji roster, this one a good deal more matronly than the Playboy Bunnies Emoji. Good. It is nice to have a symbol to convey some warm maternal energy. Side note: My mom actually just played (a woman playing) Mrs Claus last year and there is an eerie resemblance here.

And for all of whose parents have yet to figure out the whole social media thing, I hereby dub the Egg Emoji the Parents’ Twitter Account Emoji.

The #MasculinitySoFragile Emojis

Wrestling emoji Silver medal emoji hang ten emojiThere’s something about the Wrestling Emoji that just screams “Come At Me Bruh.” The actual sport is a lot more complicated than that, of course, but the image is what it is. So I’ll be using it as the Come at me Bruh Emoji until further notice. And if you have a problem with that…we can discuss it over brunch. (Side note: How the emoji will look in miniature is anyone’s guess, but it will probably look less aggressive/more homoerotic when you cram two guys together.)

We also get Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal emojis. In our hyper-competitive culture: I predict that gold will be reserved for boasting; silver will be for putting someone in their place; bronze will be shots fired.

Lastly, the Call Me Emoji will no doubt also be used as a Hang Ten Emoji, leading to confused feelings when used between guys, as both wonders if the other is just being a bro or wants to do butt stuff.

The Foodie Emojis

champagen toast emoji bacon emoji paella emojiThe primary emoji connoting cheers has used two beer mugs, but that isn’t really appropriate for bourgeois occasions that call for a champagne toast. Enter the Clinking Glasses Emoji. Now, for those of us who don’t really care for anything below 90 proof, we just need clinking martinis. Get on that, Unicode.

Some people just won’t shut up about bacon. At last, they can show their undying devotion to keeping the American Heart Association in business with the Bacon Emoji.

The emoji menu has also expanded with more vegan and gluten free options, with an Avocado, a Carrot and a Kiwifruit. But the Shallow Pan of Food Emoji, has a little of everything and looks like a Paella in its largest form. With all the Japanese food emojis already available, it’s good to see the menu spread more globally. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Japanese food emojis, but if I use one, I feel like I have to use another an hour later.

The Existential Emojis

ROFL emoji drool emoji Sneeze emoji‘LOL’ has been so overused that most of the time it is 1) used ironically as an aside or 2) followed by a statement saying, in effect, “I really did laugh aloud at this.” No one believes you when you say ROFL, let alone ROFLMAO. And yet, I think the ROFL Emoji will be useful because it does not so much represent us, but the homunculus inside of us that is rolling around like a lunatic within our brain. Among emojis, it is the best means we have to express the true madness of the world around us…as it becomes the world within us, as we roll across the earth toward oblivion.

Same goes for the Drooling Emoji. When we exclaim “(I’M) DROOLING” in text, rarely are we actually drooling, but some image within us is staring catatonically with desire, longing to feel complete for one brief moment. It feels so alone, so isolated. All it wants is just a taste of warmth, of affection, to hold something to itself or devour it hungrily. But we don’t ACTUALLY do this. We add it on Pinterest and move on, but it will be nice to acknowledge this insatiable, lonely hunger with a single emoji for once.

The Sneeze Emoji seems a bit redundant when we already have a few emojis expressing illness, but it is an improvement for those with allergies and/or who feel that one’s soul is always in danger of being forcibly extracted by the inexorable grind of daily commitments, debts, disaster and humanitarian crises. The Skull Emoji is a memento mori; the Sneeze Emoji is a reminder that life itself is a species of death. Also, it could be an Angry Dragon.

The Exasperation Emojis

Shrug emoji juggling emoji facepalm emojiEnding this list are the most useful (and most literal) emojis of Unicode 9 (according to me). The Shrug Emoji rather says it all, from feh, to meh to IDK to I give up.

The Juggling Emoji will be essential for chronic multitaskers (or the 80 percent of Americans who have diagnosed themselves as being at least a little ADD).

And at last, the Facepalm Emoji, for when words truly fail us. (I rather love that the Facepalm is actually the image in the screen of the Selfie Emoji. Nice going, Unicode.)


That’s just half of the emojis. Jocks can rejoice! There are quite a few sport-related emojis being added this time, including a Boxing Glove Emoji, Fencer Emoji and Martial Arts Uniform Emoji. Bonus: All of those are gender neutral. There are lots more food and animal emojis (same thing, depending on whom you ask), and you can see it all on Emojipedia.

T.s. Flock is a writer and arts critic based in Seattle and co-founder of Vanguard Seattle.