16 Emoji You've Been Using All Wrong

FYI, those raised hands don't mean "praise."

Cheek, Yellow, Chin, Forehead, Emoticon, Facial expression, Line, Jaw, Organ, Orange,
(Image credit: Archive)

If you have an iPhone, chances you've used an emoji (opens in new tab) or two in a text. But are you actually using them correctly? There are a few popular ones that are often misinterpreted, but we've found their official meanings via Unicode (opens in new tab).

Blue, Yellow, Amber, Animation, Cartoon, Azure, blue, Majorelle blue, Cobalt blue, Tan,

(Image credit: Archive)

If you've been using this much-debated icon to signify a high five, you're wrong. This actually is meant to be a person with folded hands — which implies praying or bowing.

2. Japanese Ogre

Tooth, Jaw, Tongue, Graphics, Snout, Clip art, Animation, Fang, Humour,

(Image credit: Archive)

The red-faced angry emoji isn't a mask, the devil, or a character from Where the Wild Things Are – it's a Japanese ogre.

3. Disappointed But Relieved

Graphics, Clip art, Symbol, Moustache,

(Image credit: Archive)

This looks like a crying emoji at first glance, but observe the placement of that water droplet. It's on the side of the face, signifying sweat rather than tears, and is officially called the "disappointed but relieved face."

4. Shocked

Yellow, Orange, Amber, Font, Circle, Ball, Symbol, Emoticon, Sphere, Graphics,

(Image credit: Archive)

The double Xs make this emoji appear to mean "dead," but it is intended to demonstrate astonishment.

5. Celebration Hands

Finger, Sharing, Thumb, Gesture, Collaboration, Graphics, Sign language, Symmetry, Symbol, Clip art,

(Image credit: Archive)

Think this means "praise Jesus"? Nope. It's actually just the raised hands of a person celebrating.

6. Face Massage

Cheek, , Jaw, Animation, Temple, Magenta, Muscle, Cartoon, Tan, Clip art,

(Image credit: Archive)

If you've always been confused about what's on this woman's head, here's your answer: hands. She is getting a massage, though why it's happening to her face is less clear.

7. Hushed Face

Yellow, Orange, Amber, Circle, Symmetry, Electrical supply, Symbol, ,

(Image credit: Archive)

This appears to be a shocked emoji, but it actually means "hushed."

8. Grinning Face With Smiling Eyes

Yellow, Orange, Line, Amber, Graphics, Circle, Clip art, Symbol, Fruit,

(Image credit: Archive)

This definitely looks like an awkward, uncomfortable grimace, but it technically is a super happy smiling emoji.

9. Kissy Face

Yellow, Orange, Amber, Colorfulness, Circle, Emoticon, Sphere, Smiley, Graphics, Symbol,

(Image credit: Archive)

This face looks like it's whistling, but it's actually just another kissy face (opens in new tab) that offers less love than the kissy face with a heart.

10. Face Savouring Delicious Food

Yellow, Orange, Colorfulness, Facial expression, Line, Amber, Emoticon, Smiley, Circle, Graphics,

(Image credit: Archive)

The emoji with its tongue hanging out is often used as a goofy or teasing emoji, but surprise! It's supposed to mean you are enjoying a food (opens in new tab) you like.

11. Information Desk Person

Cheek, Chin, Forehead, Eyebrow, Jaw, Collar, Cartoon, Animation, Lavender, Pleased,

(Image credit: Archive)

If you've been using this as a waving or sassy emoji, brace yourself for the much less exciting true meaning: It's just a helpful information desk person.

12. Hot Springs

Carmine, Maroon, Graphics, Coquelicot, Symbol, Artwork,

(Image credit: Archive)

This definitely looks like it signifies a hot cup of tea or soup, but it actually means "hot springs."

13. Weary Cat Face

Yellow, Tooth, Line, Snout, Amber, Orange, Tongue, Toy, Whiskers, Animal figure,

(Image credit: Archive)

Though this cat's face appears shocked, Unicode insists it is actually just weary.

14. Face With OK Gesture

Yellow, Purple, Violet, Magenta, Lavender, Fictional character, Pleased, Animation, Symbol, Fiction,

(Image credit: Archive)

Okay, I admittedly had no idea what this actually was, but according to Unicode, it is a woman making an "OK gesture." Does anybody actually do this when trying to signal that they're okay?

15. Name Badge

Logo, Carmine, Symbol, Superhero, Fictional character, Graphics, Emblem, Circle, Artwork, Shield,

(Image credit: Archive)

This doesn't actually represent fire, though it certainly looks like flames — instead, it means "name badge."

16. Person Bowing Deeply

Animation, Azure, Animated cartoon, Graphics, blue, Clip art, Illustration, Fictional character, Drawing, Symbol,

(Image credit: Archive)

This guy looks pretty stressed out, but he is, in fact, bowing deeply to show how sorry he is. Perhaps he is apologizing for being such a confusing emoji.

Samantha Escobar
Samantha Escobar

Sam's enthusiasm for makeup is only rivaled by their love of all things relating to cats. In their spare time, they enjoy watching scary movies, putting avocado on everything, and seeing how many shades of the rainbow they can dye their hair before 30.