Throughout history, humans have always found ways to communicate via cryptic messages, and the modern version of these ancient runes is the emoji.
Among younger generations, emojis are so popular that they've all but replaced words in texts and posts on social networks, often to the consternation of parents desperately trying to figure out what coded message they're trying to send. And while some emoji meanings are straightforward, others have a secret double meaning that has to be deciphered, and some are quite complicated. For example, a recent survey by the University of Birmingham found that a balloon followed by a comma and a teddy bear meant “I'm thinking about you but I don't have the words to say it.” (You have to wonder how that became a thing.) And that's just one of the many fascinating meanings of secondary emoji. So read on to discover the secret meanings behind some of the most popular emojis on your phone's keyboard.
Explaining popular emoji meanings
You might think you know how to use a smartphone, but what you learn below might surprise you.
You may not have guessed it, but the goat represents the acronym “GOAT”, which stands for “greatest of all time”. If you see this emoji in your social media feed, it means you're considered the best in your field.
Beware if you see the snake, as it signals that someone thinks you're a deceitful traitor. It became ubiquitous on Taylor Swift's Instagram Page in 2017 after the singer complained about a lyric referring to her in Kanye West's song “Famous”, claiming not to have known about it. This prompted Kim Kardashian, then West's wife, to post an audio recording of the rapper getting his approval on the lyrics before publishing his hit.
Smiley face emoji
If someone sends you this slightly smiley face, you can assume that anything sent before was intended to be sneaky, smug or mysterious. On Snapchat, its meaning is even more striking. The same emoji used to appear when you were listed under “best friends”, but it wasn't one of yours. Now that had to hurt.
There's an obvious meaning behind this emoji and a more obscure one. On the one hand, you can use it to describe a situation that seems, well, less than stellar. On the other, it could also be used in place of another swear word, or even to criticize something someone else in the chat said.
Again, there are two ways to interpret this one. In one case, you could be referring to everyone's favorite pet. In another, you could use this emoji to represent a certain type of genitalia.
This one is hardly ever intended to represent death. Instead, people can use it to describe instances when they “die” from laughter or frustration.
Open mouth emoji
This one's all about context. Open mouth can denote surprise, shock, astonishment or utter disappointment.
Blue heart emoji
Don't let the familiar shape fool you – the blue heart has been hailed as the “most exciting” of all emojis, denoting a desire for casual, commitment-free sex.
Smiling face with smiling eyes Emoji
If you want to communicate total and complete happiness, opt for this emoji instead of the standard smiley. The grinning face represents a smile so wide it even reaches the eyes.
Given that Beyoncé's Internet name is Queen Bey and her fans are known as Beyhive, her followers will often invade a message with attacking bumblebees if anyone dares cast shade on their almighty ruler.
It's also a reference to Beyoncé, particularly her groundbreaking 2016 album, Lemonade. Twitter saw a massive increase in emoji usage in the weeks following the album's release, and while it's not as ubiquitous today, it will forever represent her masterful musical journey through the various stages of infidelity. And, like the drone, it's often used on the Instagram accounts of women her fans believe to be “Becky with the good hair”, Bey's pseudonym for the woman (or women) Jay-Z cheated on her with.
It means “hugs” and is essentially a virtual hug, even if the sea creature isn't very cuddly (despite its many tentacles).
It may not be the sexiest image, but this emoji represents a certain willingness to be dashing.
Pizza slice emoji
It could mean that the person posting it is in the mood for pizza, but in the right context, a slice of pizza or a piece of cheese is another way of saying “I love you”. Because communicating that isn't complicated enough.
This emoji signals that something is hot, or as kids would say these days, “Lit”.
The image of a fabulous woman playing in a long red dress doesn't mean the sender wants to hit some salsa. It does, however, mean they want to party – hard.
In keeping with the fact that it is, after all, a weapon, the knife emoji means that someone is in a very bad mood and wants to cause a lot of destruction.
Nail polish emoji
People often post this on someone's Instagram page to indicate that they're “on fleek” or, in other words, fabulous. It can also be sent in a text message to show that you're feeling as chill as a nail-drying diva. But its most common use is as a reply to indicate that you're not bothered by something someone has said about you.
Women with bunny ears Emoji
Some women send this to their friends to indicate that they're about to have a girls' rock night, but given that it's modeled on a Playboy Bunny, it can also be code for sex workers.
Lady Emoji Information Desk
You'd think it would mean “May I help you?” but it's actually used to express