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Tears of joy: Meet the most used emoji in 2021

Following the leader are “red heart”, “rolling on the floor laughing”, “thumbs up”, “loudly crying face”, “folded hands” and a few more

Mathures Paul Published 07.12.21, 01:06 AM

Things haven’t been great the last two years but our choice of emojis haven’t changed since 2019 when the Unicode Consortium last released its list. Instead of reflecting the languishing mood we have been in for a long time, our interest in “face with tears of joy” remains high. In 2021 it has accounted for over five per cent of emoji sent online.

Following the leader are “red heart”, “rolling on the floor laughing”, “thumbs up”, “loudly crying face”, “folded hands” (which many use it as “high five”), “face blowing a kiss”, “smiling face with hearts”, “smiling face with heart-eyes” and “smiling face with smiling eyes”.


The emoji leading the pack has not been the most popular among members of Gen Z, who consider it uncool… as uncool as skinny jeans and side parts. There have been reports that youngsters have been blocking TikTok comments with the said emoji so “they’ll never lay eyes on it again”. But the ranking also reflects that emojis are not only a Gen Z phenomenon.

If we are to go by data from Twitter, “tears of joy” was the most tweeted emoji in 2020 and this year it became number two while “crying face” took the crown. Also, though there are over 3,600 options to choose from, the top 100 emojis account for around 82 per cent of total emoji shares.

If we are to look at what’s hot and not between 2019 and 2021, the “tiny dancer” and “talk to the hand” emojis are out of the top 100. And it’s not surprising that health-related emojis have seen more usage, only “hot face” and “woozy face” have made it to the top 100. The syringe emoji jumped to 193rd place this year vis-a-vis 282nd in 2019 while the “microbe” also rose, from 1,086th in 2019 to 477th.

The pandemic rages on but we did spend more time wishing one another good luck and have tried to find something to laugh about.

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