Emoji 101, level two: how to use 21 of the more advanced emojis

Emoji skills: ???

So you made it through Emoji 101. Huzzah! You’re probably feeling pretty confident that you’ve got the basics down. Of course, now it only makes sense that you move on to Level Two – the advanced guide that deals with some of the more complex and highly misunderstood emojis.

I’ll be blunt: there will be no Smiling Face or Winking Faces here. This is for serious emoji students only, but once you master these, you’ll get an official certificate stating that you’re an Emoji Sensei (not really, but you can make one in Microsoft Word if you like).

1. Official name: Aubergine

Actually means: An aubergine if you speak British English, and an eggplant if you speak American English. Fun fact: this is the only emoji that you can’t search on Instagram as a hashtag. Wonder why? #dickpics

Frequently used to mean: You’re cooking aubergines (why??); a penis; anything phallic.


  1. Had fun last night, if you know what I mean. ?
  2. Reading Freud.?s.?s everywhere.

2. Official name: Eyes

Actually means: A pair of eyes looking to one side, which when you take the time to think about it, is actually creepy.

Frequently used to mean: You’re giving major side-eye; you’re being a perv; you got new glasses and only now realize how much you missed seeing things; you’re indicating that something seems shifty; you’re out at dinner and can’t stop staring at the incredible looking burger at the adjacent table.


  1. Can’t take my damn eyes off the barista ?
  2. Currently sitting next to Patrick Stewart on the tube. Trying to play it cool. No one else seems to have noticed ?

3. Official name: Face With No Good Gesture

Actually means: No good; no; no deal; absolutely not.

Frequently used to mean: N-O; you’re putting an end to a friend’s rubbish idea for a new drink that involves salsa and Coke; someone’s trying to convince you to switch from Apple to Samsung (or vice versa); you’re skint but your mates are trying to convince you to come out “just for a few hours”; Russell Crowe as Javert.


  1. Unless you’re into spoilt overpriced food, DO NOT go to that new Mexican place. ?
  2. My sister wants me to come get a bikini wax with her. ?

4. Official name: Fire

Actually means: Something’s burning.

Frequently used to mean: You think someone or something is hot; your first attempt at cooking didn’t go so well; the weather is scorchio; you’re mad at someone and damning them to an eternity in Hades.


  2. You know what’s really romantic? A candlelit dinner where you set fire to your fringe. FML ?

5. Official name: Flexed Biceps

Actually means: A flexed arm belonging to a fit person who is showing off their biceps (there’s a good reason why I’ve never used this in a non-sarcastic manner).

Frequently used to mean: You’re at the gym and bragging on social media about how you’re at the gym instead of, ya know, working out; you carried a chair up two flights of stairs and now you’re convinced you’ve worked out for the next six months; you did something impressive but unrelated to physical fitness.


  1. Putting together a workout playlist. ?
  2. So amazed by all the people participating in #ShoutYourAbortion. Those are some brave individuals right there. ?

6. Official name: Face With Stuck-Out Tongue and Winking Eye

Actually means: A face that’s simultaneously winking and sticking out their tongue.

Frequently used to mean: Miley Cyrus; you’re joking but you feel the simpler Winking Face emoji isn’t enough to capture the essence of your joke; you’re being “wacky,” whatever that means; you’re pulling a prank; you’ve done something that you know is wrong but just couldn’t resist; you’re cheekily asking your sister if you can “borrow” her Netflix password.


  1. Your brother and I matched on Grindr so I asked him out on a date. ?
  2. Using my little sister as an excuse to go to the 1D concert. ?

7. Official name: Party Popper

Actually means: A popped party popper, as is evidenced by all the confetti popping out.

Frequently used to mean: You’re celebrating; you’re at a party; you’re faking enthusiasm about going to a party; you got your degree (despite being out every other night); you’re celebrating getting your degree despite being out every other night by having one giant night out.


  2. One last party with everyone on my course. WE MADE IT ?

8. Official name: Runner

Actually means: A person who’s running. Due to his choice of clothes, which aren’t running clothes, we can safely assume that he’s running late to an important appointment, as opposed to out for a leisurely jog. Unless, of course, he likes to jog in jeans.

Frequently used to mean: You’re just about to get in the shower but you’re lying to your mum that you’re on your way; you’ve found out about a cupcake sale that’s down the road; your train’s leaving in two minutes; you’re about to see your best friend for the first time in over a year.


  2. I’m halfway out the door, be there in 5 ?

9. Official name: Pouting Face

Actually means: You’re pouting, although imo you’re angrier than just pouting, just judging by those furrowed brows and your literally red face.

Frequently used to mean: You are very very very very very angry; FRIENDS was taken off Netflix; it went from complete sun to utter downpour the second you stepped out; someone just began/ended a sentence with “you know, for a girl.”


  1. There’s one missing Jammy Dodger in my box. ?
  2. I was playing FIFA on the tube and some dude came over and said I should “stick to Angry Birds” ?

10. Official name: OK Hand Sign

Actually means: Okay; works for me; sounds good.

Frequently used to mean: Okie-dokes; perfect; you’re too lazy to literally type two letters; you find the Thumbs Up Sign too mainstream; you’re using it with the Right Pointing Backhand Index emoji to signify sex because you’re really mature.


  1. I love you this much? (FYI that means not a lot.)
  2. Netflix and chill? ??

11. Official name: Peach

Actually means: A peach, as in the fruit, not the endearment.

Frequently used to mean: A peach; a bum; you’re mooning someone via text; any other bum-related activities that are going on in your life (I don’t know what you do in your free time).


  1. Didn’t realise how low-cut my jeans were until I had to bend down and grab something I dropped. ?
  2. Getting dressed to Bootylicious. ?

12. Official name: Person Raising Both Hands in Celebration

Actually means: Someone raising both their hands in celebration. Duh.

Frequently used to mean: Hallelujah; you made it through your first festival; you got the job; you didn’t forget your dad’s birthday; your external phone charger is actually charged; it’s payday.


  1. Praise Yeezus. ?
  2. My laptop died but all my stuff is on Dropbox  ?

13. Official name: Raised Fist

Actually means: Fist pump.

Frequently used to mean: A celebratory fist pump; you’re indicating that you have zero of something; a cis dude masturbating; you’re Success Kid.


  1. Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” is my new jam. ✊
  2. Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club ✊

14. Official name: Woman With Bunny Ears

Actually means: The Japanese version of a Playboy bunny (although not the same thing), called a bunny girl; associated with human/animal hybrids known as kemonomimi in Japanese anime and manga. (Yes, I can see that the name refers to a single woman but the emoji actually shows two women. No, I don’t know why.)

Frequently used to mean: Two women dancing, presumably tap or ballet; you (and your friend) are dressing up as rabbits for Halloween; you’re going to a show in Vegas; you’re live-tweeting a TV dance competition; you and your BFF accidentally showed up to work in the same outfit.


  1. Tipsy at a karaoke bar and we just signed up to do Single Ladies. We might or might not be doing the dance as well. ?
  2. Signed up for Zumba classes. ?

15. Official name: Flushed Face

Actually means: You’re so embarrassed, your cheeks are red.

Frequently used to mean: You’re speechless; you found out a secret you really didn’t want/need to know; it’s a particularly windy day and you just flashed all of Oxford Street; you’re at a party where you don’t know anyone; you dropped your phone in the toilet.


  1. I can hear my parents having sex. ?
  2. I walked into an occupied loo that wasn’t properly locked. ?

16. Official name: Unamused Face

Actually means: You are not amused. Think Grumpy Cat.

Frequently used to mean: You’re dissatisfied with the latest Facebook outage; you’re rolling your eyes so hard that they’re falling out of their sockets; you’re unimpressed by gaming companies’ excuses for blatant sexism; you’re watching a bunch of old men on TV deciding for women what they should do with their bodies.


  1. My reaction to every “joke” in Pixels: ?
  2. How has it taken FIFA this long to have female players? ?

17. Official name: Revolving Hearts

Actually means: Either two hearts in a constant revolution, or one big heart revolving around a smaller heart – you decide. Emojis can be, and are, open to interpretation. After all, they’re art.

Frequently used to mean: You’re a cartoon character who’s in love and has little hearts floating above their head; a single red/purple/yellow/blue/green heart just doesn’t capture the depth of your affection for someone/something; if you could, you’d love your SO with two hearts.


  1. My bed and I are in a long-term committed relationship. ?
  2. Officially spending New Year’s Eve in Paris with my boo. ?

18. Official name: Victory Hand

Actually means: In 1941, this was the “victory sign” that Churchill made during WWII; in 2015, it’s the popular “peace sign” that teenagers make at each other to convey a multitude of expressions without saying a word.

Frequently used to mean: “Peace”; “peace out”; “cool”; air quotes when used at the beginning and end of a sentence; you’re indicating you want/have two of something; you’re ending a Facebook argument.


  1. Dave’s not here, man ✌️
  2. Best part of my school reunion was asking people whatever happened to their ✌️band✌️.

19. Official name: Dash Symbol

Actually means: A gust of air implying someone or something moving really fast.

Frequently used to mean: A fart; it’s windy today; you’re letting your mum know you’re late to the family dinner and are hurrying; you slept through your alarm and have five minutes to get to work; J.K. Rowling just announced a surprise limited-capacity book signing; UKIP campaigners are trying to get your contact info.


  1. Oh dear god it smells like eggs in here ?
  2. My new PS4 is waiting for me at home!! ?

20. Official name: Ghost

Actually means: A ghost that’s trying to scare someone but failing big-time because it’s actually rather cute.

Frequently used to mean: “Boo!” (the scare); boo (the nickname); you’re dressing up as a ghost for Halloween; you’re watching a scary movie at night on your own in the dark and bragging about how fearless you are; your TV turned on to just static and you were convinced it was The Ring; you’re convinced you just saw/heard a ghost and are urgently texting someone, ANYONE, to please come over.


  1. Hey ?, I miss you.
  2. Cher’s Twitter feed.

21. Official name: Nail Polish

Actually means: Pink nail polish being applied to someone’s fingernails.

Frequently used to mean: You’re getting your nails done; you just landed your dream job but are playing it cool; you almost tripped on your face while getting off the tube but you saved yourself with utter grace like the magnificent gazelle you are; you shut down a hater; you honestly have no fucks left to give.


  1. Power walked up the stairs at Russell Square in heels. ?
  2. I just mastered Emoji Level Two. ?

Main image: iStock/Sandramo
Emoji images: Emojipedia, who are awesome and you should give them some money.