Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference between Emoji and Emoticon

Nearly everybody has used emojis and emoticons extensively on many occasions, even if they weren’t aware of the terms then. Both the terms are used in conjunction with each other, mostly during conversations to convey a message, however, both are very different from each other. While emojis have been around for over a decade until the smartphone revolution which took the world by storm, emoticons have been appearing in online conversations for some time now.

Difference between Emoji and Emoticon


Emojis represent an idea or a concept more than emotions, while emoticons are used to best express human emotions of one kind or another, depending on the mood of the sender. Emojis are commonly used in text-based messages or emails or just any kind of electronic communication. These are more like emoticons but used to represent almost anything from common objects and places to animals and expressions. Emojis have revolutionized the way we communicate, providing more fun to the means of communication in the best way possible.

This transition to all things digital has made more people going crazy for smartphones and social media, which eventually have given rise to the popular instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Messenger, and more. Technology has made everything so much fun and connecting with friends and family has never been so much easier. You know the one thing that is common is all these messaging apps? It’s the emojis. They are everywhere and they are the most popular feature used in almost every communication medium we use today.

Not only emojis are the best way to convey your message, but they also do so without using words. You cannot imagine having a conversation using any device or platform today without someone sending you all kinds of emojis or in fact you sending one over yourself. Emojis are not just symbols; they are the language of human emotions which represent a strong message. Emojis have revolutionized the landscape of modern-day linguistics, paving way for a new universal language. Replacing words with symbols is a rage these days and considering its ever-increasing usage in digital communication, this is a trend that’s here to stay.

Difference between Emoji and Emoticon-1


Emoticons, on the other hand, are a typographic representation of facial expressions that are used to convey a message in a text-based medium. Emoticons use alphanumeric characters to display an emotion with the help of pictographs. Imagine expressing your emotion with a symbol showing a sad face, while saying your friend goodbye. The way you conveyed your message without even saying anything was actually fun and your message was received nonetheless. Well, emoticons allow us to express our emotions and feelings without having to spell out any heartfelt sentiments.

Emoticons have changed the way we communicate. It conveys the full meaning of what exactly you’re feeling at the moment without using lengthy sentences and descriptive words. The idea is to get your message across with a set of characters used to convey human emotions. These are commonly called as emoticons or smileys as you may know. Emoticons are used in literally every conversation running around the internet. They are nothing but electronic methods of communication such as text messaging, instant messaging, email, etc. The transition to smartphones has made people move beyond the regular communication means which witnessed the rise of emoticons.

You can clearly see how a symbol could give such a real meaning to a simple message. This is why emoticons have surpassed the conventional methods of communication to become the new universal language itself. If you’re into any form of electronic communication such as text or email, you’re likely to come across a lot of those funny little characters that represent more than just an emotion. In fact, the idea of switching to texts and images is a great way to express your emotions and feelings. Remember, the term emoticon itself is a combination of two words – emotion and icon.

The difference between both the terms is quite simple. While emojis are a vast set of pictorial symbols used to express all sorts of emotions without using words, emoticons are more like a subset of emojis but used to express human emotions. It basically mimics facial expressions and modifies them in a dozen different ways to represent just the right emotion. This article gives an insight into both the methods of communication and compares the two on various aspects.

Emoji Emoticon
Emojis are synonymous with emoticons but centers around ideas rather than emotions to convey the message. Emoticon mimics human emotions in text-based format representing human expressions to best convey the message.
They are more like emoticons but coexist in all kinds of genres including animals, places, objects, and expressions. They are a large set of ad-hoc symbols created using alphanumeric characters to best express human feelings or emotions.
They are basically smileys and ideograms used to represent an idea or a concept without using words. They normally use keyboard characters such as punctuation marks, number and letters to represent human expression.
Emoji represents an actual image instead of text. Emoticon is a combination of two words – emotion and icon.
Emojis can be anything from an image of a common object to an image of a whimsical ghost. Emoticons are usually faces representing human expressions.


Emojis and emoticons are the best ways to convey a message with images and texts rather than words. Whether you wish to express your emotional state such as joy, anger, sad, and disgust or send a quick message specifying your plan after work, or express your feeling, these characters and images add a little fun to your communication without using words. While emojis are small images that best represent a human emotion or an idea, emoticons are a typographic representation of facial expressions. Both the terms are used to express emotions without using words but in a different context. Well, there is one thing they both are really good at – that is to convey a message in the best way possible.

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References :

[0]Danesi, Marcel. The Semiotics of Emoji: The Rise of Visual Language in the Age of the Internet. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016. Print

[1]Danesi, Marcel. The Semiotics of Emoji: The Rise of Visual Language in the Age of the Internet. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016. Print

[2]Evans, Vyvyan. The Emoji Code: Language and the Nature of Communication. New York: Macmillan Publishing, 2017. Print

[3]Benenson, Fred. How to Speak Emoji. London: Ebury Publishing, 2015. Print

[4]"Image Credit: http://www.maverickyouth.com/articles/does-the-emoji-make-us-lazier/"

[5]"Image Credit: http://www.texample.net/tikz/examples/emoticons/"

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