Difference between Emoji and Emoticon

Key Difference: The primary difference between an emoji and an emoticon is the fact that while an emoticon is created out of text, primarily via the use of punctuation marks, whereas an emoji is a small image, a pictograph.

EmojiNearly everyone has used an emoji and emoticon at least once in their lives, even if they didn’t know what it was called. In common parlance, the terms are used interchangeably, though that is incorrect. There is a clear difference between the two, even if most people either don’t know or don’t care.

An emoji is intended to be a graphical representation of a human face. In fact the term itself means pictograph, and is derived from Japanese, originally meaning e (絵, "picture") + moji (文字, "character").

Most people incorrectly refer to emojis as smileys, however it should be noted that a smiley specifically refers a stylized representation of a smiling humanoid face that is typically yellow in color. An emoji, on the other hand, can represent various expressions; in fact, they are not even limited to human faces. Practically anything can be an emoji, including but not limited to facial expressions, common objects, places and types of weather, and animals. Some modern emojis also include words or numbers that are stylistically written.

Emoticons

Emojis were originally developed in Japan and became popularly used on Web pages or in instant messages. The idea behind them was that they were an easier and quicker way to express an idea than using words. The emoji were eventually adapted for use by phones and became even more popular as they used fewer characters to send an emoji than to use words, and more characters meant using more text messages, which comes out to be more expensive.

An emoticon is something different. It is a portmanteau of the phrase “emotion icon”. Hence it can be described as an icon that expresses an emotion. It is intended to be a pictorial representation of a human face which can be modified in various ways to express the emotion that the user wants to express. For example, :) for smile, or :o for shock or surprise.

The primary difference between an emoji and an emoticon is the fact that while an emoticon is created out of text, primarily via the use of punctuation marks, whereas an emoji is a small image, a pictograph. Another difference between them is that an emoticon primarily consists of faces showing expressions, while an emoji can be anything.

Comparison between Emoji and Emoticon:

 

Emoji

Emoticon

Description (Wikipedia)

Emoji are used much like emoticons and exist in various genres, including facial expressions, common objects, places and types of weather, and animals.

A pictorial representation of a facial expression using punctuation marks, numbers and letters, usually written to express a person's feelings or mood.

Defining Characteristic

A small image that can be used to represent something instead of words

Face created using alpha-numeric characters

Type

Image

Text

Purpose

To express emotion or an idea without using words

To express emotion without using words

Viewing angle

Typically viewed straight without rotating 90 degrees

May required to be viewed after rotation through 90 degrees.

Expression

Can be a image of anything

Typically a face showing expressions

Reference: Wikipedia (Emoji and Emoticon), Quick and Dirty Tips, The Guardian, Britannica
Image Courtesy: getemoji.com, cultofmac.com

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