Bunch of emoji

What does this emoji mean? I’ve found myself asking this question several times because not all of them are always explicit. The emoji with two hands together, for example. Is it two people high fiving each other? Or is it someone praying? As I said, it’s not always obvious. If like me you’re sometimes in doubt about what an emoji means, we’ve put together a few tips that will help you get an answer.

How to find out what an emoji means on your Mac

There are a couple ways to find out the meaning of an emoji character on your Mac.

The first way is pretty basic:

Step 1: In the Messages app on your Mac, click on the smiley face to bring up the emoji keyboard.

Step 2: Search the emoji for which you want to learn the meaning.

Step 3: Hover your mouse over the emoji character and after a couple seconds, you should see a little popup with the description of that emoji.

meaning of emoji character

The second way is for the emoji connoisseur:

Step 1: In any application, go to the Menu Bar > Edit > Emoji & Symbols. As an alternative, you can use Control + Command + Space on your keyboard. This will bring up a window with all the characters present on your Mac.

Step 2: Select Emoji in the left sidebar.

Step 3: Search for the emoji you want to get the meaning for, and click on it to select it.

Step 4: On the right hand side, you will be presented with the translation of that emoji.

what does this emoji symbol mean

Find out what an emoji means on your iPhone

If your Mac can tell you the meaning of an emoji character in a very straightforward manner, it is not quite as simple to replicate on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Indeed, we’re going to have to use an accessibility feature in order to trick iOS into speaking out loud the definition of the emoji.

Step 1: On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech, and turn on Speak Selection.

Step 2: Create a new email or note, and insert the emoji character for which you want the definition.

Step 3: Tap to select the emoji and select “Speak…” from the menu. Siri will then speak to you the meaning of the symbol.

Siri tells what emoji means

Use an emoji dictionary app

I am sure there are dozens of apps in the App Store that do just that, but one of the most simple ones appear to be Emoji Dictionary, which is available for free. Download the app and browse for your favorite emoji to get its meaning. Unfortunately, this app hasn’t been updated since January 2015, so its catalogue of emoji characters is a bit outdated. For instance, it doesn’t include the latest emoji symbols found in iOS 9.1.

emoji dictionary

Learn more about emoji characters with Emojipedia

Emojipedia is to emoji characters what Wikipedia is to global knowledge. The website catalogues every single emoji available and shares more details about each of them. This is definitely the ultimate reference for emoji symbols, but it could be a little overkill if all you’re looking for is a quick definition of an emoji.

Emojipedia search

Do you know other ways to get the meaning of a specific emoji? If so, make sure to let us know in the comments section below.

  • mynamesuxlol

    Hello, typo here
    Is it two people high giving each other?

    • Thanks, that damn auto correct messed it up 🙂

      • Thanh

        never trust autocorrect

  • “person raising both hands in celebration” is hands down the worst emoji ever.

    • Thanh

      thought that was like praying

  • Piotr Machacz

    You can do something similar with speech like on iOS with the mac. Select the emoji that you want to figure out, then click edit>speech>start speaking. As far as iOS goes as a blind user I can thankfully say that the VOiceOver feature does recognise and read emoji as well. So, what you can do is ask Siri to turn VoiceOver on, or configure the home button shortcut in accessibility settings. Then when VoiceOver is on just tap the message where you have the emoji and it should be described. Finally either use the home button shortcut again or tell siri to “turn off VoiceOver” and your phone should stop talking. HTH

    • Anonymous

      Awesome tip, I’m not blind nor deft. But have found that many of the accessibility settings can become one’s pro features when used right for iOS.

  • air server

    Actually, on iOS 9, Siri can announce the emoji and explain what it is. The trick is you need to write something in text before the emoji, such as Hello and then select/highlight all the text and emojis and find the Speak action. She’ll then go and read the text “Hello” and so on.

  • AwkwardApple

    Anyone try this with the new middle finger emoji?

    • AlanAudio

      The problem is that the description of the emoji ( such as the egg plant or peach ) is literal, but the way it’s used in the real world often carries an entirely different interpretation. In many cases, what’s needed is a means to translate what concept an emoji conveys, rather than to simply describe the image.

  • James G

    Can Siri dictate emoji?