Difference Between Emoji and Emoticon

A small enough image that can be inserted into the text and expresses an idea or emotion is known as emoji. They are most often used in text and email messages and are available in any electronic communication.

An emoticon is made with the help of the keyboard characters (numbers, punctuation marks, letters), which represent human facial expressions.

Comparison Table Between Emoji and Emoticon 

Parameters of ComparisonEmojiEmoticon
InterpretationIt is a small graphical image that expresses emotions or ideas.It is made from keyboard characters to represent a face.
InventedIn 1999In 1982
DerivedFrom JapeneseFrom English
Made of Pre-made faces Symbols
VersionEmoitcon's advanced versionPrecursors to modern emojis

What is Emoji? 

Emoji’s primary function is to fill in emotional cues. Emojis are much like emoticons, but emoticons are a typographic approximation and emojis are pictures.  

Originally the word emoji was originated from Japanese search as e (picture) and moji (character). The word “emoji” in a strict sense refers to pictures that are represented as encoded characters. 

In the contemporary world, it became a large part of popular culture around the world. In 2015, “Tears of Joy emoji” became the word of the year.  

If the software fails to support the character, then it will only display a blank space or placeholder icon. So, it is important for the software to explicitly support these characters. 

What is Emoticon? 

An emoticon is a representation of facial expression by using characters such as letters, punctuation marks, and numbers. It helps to express a person’s mood, reaction, or feelings.

An emoticon is a noun that is a symbol and is used by people to communicate in digital communications. Mostly to form a smiley face, punctuation marks are used to form the mouth and eyes.

In 1986, Japan arose a special kind of style namely kaomoji on ASCII NET. Katakana character set is utilized in it which helps to understand without tilting head.  

Emoticons in communication technology played a significant role. Various devices and applications provide stylized pictures without the usage of text punctuation.  

Main Differences Emoji and Emoticon 

  1. Emojis are just like emoticons, but they are available in all kinds of genres such as animals, expressions, places end objects. Whereas emoticons are a set of ad-hoc symbols that are created using alphanumeric characters.  
  2. Emoji do not use keyboard characters (numbers, punctuation marks, and letters) to be get inserted in messages.
Difference Between Emoji and Emoticon


So, it can be concluded that even emoji and emoticons are used with each other in conjunction but still, they are different from each other. They both play a vital role to express emotion on the digital communication platform.

“Emoji” is the blend of Japanese words such as e (picture) and moji (character). But “emoticon” is the blend of English words like emotion (or emote) and icon. Thus, they both are used in text messages for different purposes to express different emotions. 


  1. https://www.aaai.org/ocs/index.php/ICWSM/ICWSM16/paper/viewPaper/13167
  2. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/10949310050191809
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