What Do All The Face Emoji Mean? Your Guide To 10 Of The Most Common Ones

To be honest, I should probably not be writing an article about emoji usage. I pretty exclusively use the purple smiling devil face because I feel it best represents my essence. And also all the witchy emoji, because duh. But see, friends, that is the beauty of this whole... thing. We're in this together, to discover once and for all, what all the emoji actually mean. Today, let's get back to basics: What do all the face emoji mean? There are a whopping 58 of them (by my count, at least), so maybe we should all double-check that we know what each one is and when it should be used.

Let's start with the word "emoji." Did you know that it means "picture letter" in Japanese? You do now! Think of emojis as their own alphabet, with each li'l face representing a specific emotion. Seems obvious, but I don't know your life. Maybe all these variations on a smiley dude freak you out.

Sure, there are hand emoji, cat emoji, heart emoji, and more — but it's the faces that are somehow both the most straightforward and hardest to use, in my opinion. I could text peace signs and exploding hearts and angry cats all the livelong day, but Smooching Face? How? Why? Which version of Smiling Face do I even use, and why are there so many of them? These are the important questions, friends. And we shall answer them — or at least, we'll answer them for 10 of the little pictograms right now. It's worth it to start small, so here's what 10 of the most commonly-encountered face emoji mean:

1. Smiling Face with Open Mouth

Also known as: Smiley Face, Happy Face, "OMG My Braces Are Finally Off" Face.

Great for: Congratulations, good news, finding the bright side of bad news, excitement, joie de vivre, sarcastically pretending your life doesn't suck, just sayin' hey.

This one's a classic, guys. I started out easy. I know I said we were in this whole "figuring out faces" thing together, but if you still need help with the basic smiley face, then... I don't know, man. I just don't know.

2. Smiling Face with Open Mouth and Cold Sweat

Also known as: Happy Sweat Emoji, Exercise Face, "The One With The Gross-Sounding Description" (or maybe that's just me).

Great for: Exercise-related messages; also moments of tension, relief, or embarassment.

Fun fact: Until writing this article, I had no idea that this was a workout-related emoji. However, I am not the only one confused by this sweating smiley. Emojipedia's entry for this face reads, "A rarely used emoji, as few people look this happy while sweating." Personally, I use it as a sign of relief — as in, "Ha ha, I'm laughing but also thank you."

3. Angry Face

Also known as: Grumpy Face, The Grimace.

Great for: Anger, grouchiness, mean muggin', shouting "How dare you!" over text, bullying someone into giving you the pizza that they just posted on Instagram.

I'm weirdly into the fact that this guy's mouth looks open just a little bit. I like imagining all of the weird sounds that are emanating from his grin — at which point I usually realize I've been mirroring his expression for about 10 minutes.

4. Neutral Face

Also known as: Straight-Faced Emoji, "...."

Great for: Responding to the news that your BFF's new BF wears fedoras on the reg, "not saying anything" about your co-worker's claim that crystals healed her asthma, generally passing judgement 24/7.

I love that this very non-neutral face is called "neutral." It perfectly fits with the seriously passive-aggressive vibes it throws out.

5. Face Throwing A Kiss

Also known as: Kissy Face, Blow A Kiss, *Kissing Sounds*.

Great for: Sending love, "being nice" or whatever.

Why and how is a face "throwing" a kiss? Why does the mouth look suspiciously like a beak? Why is he winking and kissing? Who can ever say? I do know that this face makes me a little bit uncomfortable, though. I don't trust it.

6. Winking Face

Also known as: Winky Face.

Great for: Sassing everybody in your contacts list, reminding your friend who exactly she smooched at the bar last night, making non-committal sex jokes.

Mostly I just use it for sex-related jokes, to be honest.

7. Face With Stuck Out Tongue

Also known as: Cheeky Emoji, Licky Face, "LOL JK I Love You" Face.

Great for: Goofin' on your pals, alleviating that social gaffe you just made over text wherein your sarcasm translated directly and your mom actually thought you were never, ever coming home ever again.

Whenever I see this emoji, I unconsciously begin whispering "licky licky licky" under my breath. Which is probably, not socially acceptable, right?

8. Smiling Face with Heart-Shaped Eyes

Also known as: Heart Eyes, Love Face, "ASOS Is Having A Big, Big Sale" Emoji.

Great for: Expressing your love for people, expressing your love for things, expressing your love for food, conning people into buying you things and food.

Not that this face can be used either directly to mean "I Love You," or as the emoji equivalent to puppy-dog-eyes. Personally, I think we should be able to alter what the eyes are. I would make pizza-eyes for sure. And shoe-eyes. And wine-eyes.

9. Crying Face

Also known as: Teary Emoji, Sad Face.

Great for: Sad stuff, sad stuff that you're actually relishing, like hearing that your ex got his phone stolen after not texting you back for three weeks.

Use it literally; use it sarcastically; either way, we get the point. It's pretty straightforward, unlike its weird smiling counterpoint.

10. Face Screaming In Fear

Also known as: Home Alone Emoji, "The Scream" by Edvard Munch.

Great for: Fear, horror, brain-freeze, learning that your new roommate hates Cher, sharing the news that Macaulay Culkin is now in a pizza-themed, Velvet Underground cover band called "The Pizza Underground."

I'm into the fact that his little shiny head is all blue, like his brain literally cannot compute whatever horrible information he's received. That's pretty much what I imagine going on in my own head.

Images: Emojipedia (10); Maddy Foley/Bustle (4)