What is the difference between emoji, emoticon, pictograph?

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

What's the Difference Between Emoji and Emoticon?


Emoticon are characters made to resemble faces with smile or frown or other.

These are emoticons:

:)  smile

:(  frown

;)  wink face

:o  open mouth face

:]  robot face

(^_^)  cat face (Asian style emoticon)

Emoticon is popular in 1990s and 2000s.


Emoji is picture version of extended emoticon. It was popularized in Japane mobile phone in 2000s.

Here are examples of emoji:

Faces ๐Ÿ˜ƒ ๐Ÿ˜‹ ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Japanese mobile community created far more varied such images, now including cat face ๐Ÿ˜ธ, food ๐Ÿฃ, clothing ๐Ÿ‘™ ๐Ÿ‘— , places ๐Ÿฏ โ›ฉ ๐Ÿ—ป, Japanese comics iconographs ๐Ÿ’ข ๐Ÿ’ค ๐Ÿ’ฅ , etc.

and around 2015, food, places, clothing, expressions, of USA and other cultures are also created as emoji.

[see Unicode Emoji ๐Ÿ˜„]

What is the Difference Between Emoji and Pictographs?

Pictographs are symbols, such as U+26E8 โ›จ BLACK CROSS ON SHIELD, that are pictorial representations of objects, sometimes quite simplified.

The set of Unicode emoji intersects, but is not the same as the set of pictographs in the Unicode standard.

Some characters are both emoji and pictographs, such as U+1F32D ๐ŸŒญ HOT DOG.

Some characters are emoji but not pictographs, such as U+203C โ€ผ DOUBLE EXCLAMATION MARK.

Some characters are not emoji but are pictographs, such as U+26E8 โ›จ BLACK CROSS ON SHIELD.

2017-06-30 from http://unicode.org/faq/emoji_dingbats.html

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  1. Emoji ๐Ÿ˜‚
  2. Hand ๐Ÿ‘
  3. Food ๐ŸŽ
  4. Love ๐Ÿ’‹
  5. Clothing ๐Ÿ‘ 
  6. Animal ๐Ÿฐ
  7. Insect ๐Ÿž
  8. Plant ๐ŸŒต
  9. Sport โšฝ
  10. Astrology ๐ŸŒ›
  11. Weather ๐ŸŒง
  12. Place ๐ŸŽช
  13. Signs โ›”
  14. Vehicle ๐Ÿš€
  15. Things ๐Ÿ”ช
  16. Tech ๐ŸŽง
  17. Office ๐Ÿ“ง
  18. UI ๐Ÿ—‘
  19. Clock โฐ
  20. Music ๐ŸŽถ
  21. Flags ๐Ÿ
  22. Sex โšค
  23. Stars โ˜…
  24. Cross โœš
  25. Games โ™ž
  26. Shapes โ– 
  27. Box โ–“
  28. Culture โ˜ญ
  29. Keyboard โŒ˜
  30. Common ยฉ
  31. Marks โœ“
  32. Money โ‚ฌ
  33. Circled โฝ
  34. Arrow โ†’
  35. Bracket ยซยป
  36. Math โˆ‘
  37. Math Font โ„ค
  38. Greek ฮฑ
  39. APL โ
  40. ASCII โ€
  41. Unit ใŽœ
  42. Braille โ ฎ
  43. Cyrillic ะ–
  44. Chinese ๆ–‡
  45. full-width ๅ…จ
  46. Japanese ใฎ
  47. Korean แ‡ก
  48. Arabic ุด
  49. Ethiopic แŒซ
  50. Devanagari เค…
  51. Bengali เฆ…
  52. Tamil เฎ…
  53. Tibetan เฟ“
  54. Hieroglyph ๐“‚€
  55. Cuneiform ๐’ท
  56. Linear B ๐‚‚
  57. Phoenician ๐คˆ
  58. Rune แš 
  59. Shavian ๐‘•

How To

  1. How to Input Unicode
  2. Download Font


  1. Unicode 11
  2. Unicode 10
  3. Unicode 9
  4. Unicode 8
  5. Unicode 7


  1. Japan Unicode Art
  2. Unicode Art
  3. Unicode Art Font Emulation
  4. Emoji Tale
  5. Unicode Smilies (ยฌ_ยฌ)
  6. Emoji Frequency


  1. Unicode for Programers
  2. emoji vs emoticon
  3. Unicode Equivalence
  4. Symbol Become Emoji