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Emojis are a fantastic way to give text messages oomph.

They get across your point quickly, and we relied on technology so much during the pandemic that there’s no wonder the majority of us are emoji-obsessed.

We use them to support texts, giving hints to the tone of our voice to ensure that our messages aren’t taken out of context.

Despite emojis being a universal language, there are often multiple meanings behind them, or misunderstandings about how they should be interpreted.

Text Anywhere surveyed 1,000 Brits about their communication habits, asking what they use emojis for.

Over four-fifths of Brits use emojis when texting their friends, but 7.10% claim they do not use emojis at all.

The most used emoji is the face with tears of joy, also known as the laughing face, with almost half of respondents reporting this as their top choice of emoji.

This was accompanied by the loudly crying emoji, which has overwhelmingly been used to share positivity in recent years as younger generations claim this as their preferred laughing emoji.

Next in line is the smiling face with smiling eyes face emoji, which a quarter of Brits called as one of their top three emojis.

This was closely followed by the heart emoji which is used to express love, positive feelings, and gratitude.

Whilst each emoji has a standard meaning behind it, sometimes they get used in a way creators never intended.

But a whopping six in ten Brits are using the slightly smiling face emoji in the wrong context.

This emoji is meant to emphasise a passive-aggressive message or something ironic, where the sender means to communicate that something is not really fine.

But a staggering 60 per cent described it as a ‘happy’ emoji – which isn’t quite right.

A further 23% thought the aim of the emoji was to convey a smile and just 1.5% of respondents correctly identified that the emoji is used to mostly relay sarcasm.

Other emojis Brits can’t identify
The upside down smiley

This fun emoji is meant to convey sarcasm, irony, humour, and silliness. It can represent awkwardness or frustration, where someone might use it instead of typing “oh well”, or “that’s annoying”.

The top answer for this emoji was that it represents something happy, which is a misuse of it.

Information Desk Person

The majority of Brits are using this emoji to say ‘hi’, ‘whatever’ or show ‘sass’, this is not its true intention.

The emoji is, in fact, intended to represent a person at an information or reception desk who can aid individuals with answers to their questions.

Face with Steam from Nose

Over half of respondents correctly answered that this emoji is meant to demonstrate anger, with the furrowed eyebrows and steam blowing from the nose giving indications of irritation and frustration.

Answers also included describing the emoji as annoyed, however, some respondents incorrectly identified the emoji as portraying an image of an individual sneezing.


This emoji aims to represent negative or tense emotions, where an individual may be conveying nervousness, awkwardness or embarrassment.

Some, however, believe it means someone is scared, or even cold, and others thought the clenched teeth were implying that this emoji is to represent anger.