A Parents’ Guide to 13 Commonly Misused Emojis

Emojis are usually pretty straightforward, but there are definitely a few that are truly hard to decipher. As a parent, it may be hard to keep up with all the emojis your kids are using, especially the ones that people have a habit of misusing. So to help you out, we’ve listed thirteen of the most commonly misused emojis with an explanation of their original meanings as well as how they are often used instead.


smiley face with tongue out



This seemingly simple smiley face is more dynamic than meets the eye.  In reality, its tongue is sticking out from licking its lips after eating and it is appropriately titled “Face Savoring Delicious Food.”


open hands



Frequently used in place of the word “swerve,” meaning to dismiss or to dodge someone, these hands actually represent openness, which, ironically, is quite the opposite of “swerve.”


grimacing face    


One of these faces is grinning and the other one is grimacing—can you tell the difference? The differentiating factor between the two is the “smiling eyes” on the face on the right, marking it as the grinning one.




Known as the international mascot for sassy or sarcastic texters, this girl isn’t really supposed to look mocking. In fact, she’s an innocent information desk girl trying to provide assistance.


hugging face



Looks like a cute face with jazz hands, right? Wrong!  Its hands are extended for the sole purpose of a hug, not celebration.


onsen symbol



The onsen symbol, a Japanese marker for hot springs, is so misinterpreted by Westerners as a plate of hot food that the Japanese government may change it for the 2020 Olympics.


cold sweat face 1     cold sweat face 2     relieved face


Have you ever wondered why the tears on these faces seem to originate from their foreheads instead of their eyes? Well, that’s because the droplets are actually sweat!  The first two are breaking out in cold sweats, while the last one is sweating from relief.




Doesn’t this girl look like she’s doing a ballerina plie? Well, to the surprise of many, she is not striking a dance pose, but rather her hands are forming a large “O” to symbolize an “OK” gesture.


dizzy symbol



It may look like a shooting star, but this emoji is really meant to signify a state of dizziness. Keep that in mind next time you get struck with vertigo and want to text your friends about it!




Although it appears rather furious, this face is intended to be triumphant, an expression you can now mimic after mastering this list of confusing emojis!


Emoji icons supplied by EmojiOne

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