2022 emoji year in review

Sat Jan 21 '23

Like the years that came before it, 2022 was an exceptional year for emojis. The following are some of the winners—note that this is a ranking of my top emojis for 2022, not necessarily which ones were released in 2022. Some of these were released in 2021 but flew under my radar until support was broadly added for them.

Like all good award ceremonies, we are going to start in reverse order, starting with the emojis that are deserving of recognition, but didn’t quite make it to the top of the ranks.

🏅 Honorable mentions

These emojis saw a lot of mileage this year and all deserve their own awards, but we ran out of positions on the podium so instead we decided to bundle them all together, unranked.

For me, an emoji goes above and beyond when it can be used not just literally, but subverted in some way to express a complex set of emotions down to a single pictograph.

🫰 🫠 🫡 🫃 🤌

Before we reveal the 2022 winner, let’s hear a brief message from our sponsors:

🏆 Winner, best emoji of 2022


It should come as no surprise that 💩 is my 2022 emoji of the year, for the seventh year in a row! Will anything ever unseat this champion?! Probably not.

🎖️ Winner, best “non-emoji” emoji

a crayon representation of 🤔

My most-used and favorite non-emoji emoji of 2022 was a crayon representation of 🤔 , by a large margin. This emoji is great for those times when 🤔 isn’t a strong enough indication of how much something is making you think. Colloquially, this is known as hmmmm.

There’s a way to use a ZWJ between multiple emojis to make them behave like a new unique emoji, which is used for things like constructing a nuclear family:

👨 + ZWJ + 👩 + ZWJ + 👧 → 👨‍👩‍👧

My hope for 2023 is that we see more fonts implementing the following emoji ZWJ sequence:

🤔 + ZWJ + 🖍️ → a crayon representation of 🤔

Most anticipated emoji of 2023

We’re only ¹⁄₁₂th of the way through 2023 and already there’s some bangers dropping in the emoji world. My most-anticipated emoji of 2023 is 🫨, Shaking Face, rendered as a rendering of the Shaking Face emoji, a face with lines to indicate shaking in fear motion.

This is a hot contender for “emoji of the year 2023”, but I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.