Emoji started out as something we rolled our collective eyes at teen girls for. Now they’re recognized as modern hieroglyphics a totally legit but lighthearted form of communication. They’re not exactly serious—see Face With Stuck-Out Tongue and Tightly Closed Eyes—but no one can deny they’re useful and pervasive. And now we may be getting a lot more of them.
Last year we were promised that 2014 would see the unveiling of 250 new emoji, including the desperately needed Middle Finger emoji, but as the year draws to a close, the Unicode Consortium—like an OED for emoji—has presented a pared-down list of 37 emoji being considered for inclusion in an updated 2015 keyboard. There is no Middle Finger to be found. So how useful are these new emoji? We’ve ranked them based on utility, versatility, and other totally made-up criteria. Enjoy the list, and decide for yourself if our previous prognostication about a hidden occult emoji conspiracy is coming true.
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37) Badminton Racquet and Birdie: Fun fact: no one has ever played Badminton, it is a myth. You could use that birdie to symbolize flipping the bird, but don’t. We must hold strong for the Middle Finger emoji.
36) Place of Worship: Is it kind of a bad idea to rank these emoji because they notably include “symbols of religious significance” so this is tantamount to ranking religions? Sure is! I’m not actually saying this isn’t useful, but I do wonder what this non-denominational but still spiritual emoji will look like. A room? A tree? A blank space?
35) Cricket Bat and Ball: This would be better if it was an actual singing little cricket. 1) Because when are you not texting your friends about crickets? And 2) it would be a great way to communicate that a lousy point has been met with silence.
34) Volleyball: You can’t talk about the 2000 movie Castaway without this emoji, really.
33) Amphora: Perfect for asking someone to bring drinks to the bacchanalia.
32) Bow and Arrow: For Hunger Games fans.
31) Hugging Face: I just want to know what this means. Are arms involved? Are they reaching out to hug the emoji recipient or is the face itself being squeezed by disembodied limbs? More importantly, does the face look like it’s trying to cop a feel?
30) Field Hockey Stick and Ball: For all those fierce FieHock debates you get into.
29) Money-Mouth Face: This proposed emoji can function as a beautiful little poem, “Money talks.” Perfect for business emoji-ing.
28) Prayer Beads: Maybe not the classiest way to let someone know you’re thinking of them? Also, I’m not saying I’ll personally use them to mean “anal beads” but I’m saying someone could.
27) Scorpion: For admitting that yes, that was a sick burn—or preceded by a “/” to talk about your secret favorite show.
25) Lion Face: Finally, you can emoji out the lyrics to “Roar.”
24) Burrito: Look, burritos are great, sure, but what will this even look like? A diagonal tan rectangle? The Taco emoji is way more evocative. Good for talking about swaddling, though.
23) Table Tennis Paddle and Ball: Good for saying “Hey, buddy, we can go back and forth all day.”
22) Face With Head-Bandage: If you have brain damage, “brain damage” can be really difficult to type out.
21) Kaaba: The fact that I had to Google this means I’m not really qualified to rank it, but for others who don’t know, it is a cube-shaped building at the center of Islam’s sacred mosque. It remains to be seen if this will be depicted in a way that will allow me to use it to use it as a robot’s head.
20) Robot Face: Saving me from using Kaaba as a robot’s head. Also useful during political debates, and the future uprising.
19/18) Mosque/Synagogue: I’ve conflated these and put them at the very center of the list, for reasons of world peace.
17) Upside-Down Face: For days when everything seems tipped on it’s little emoji head.
16) Zipper-Mouth Face: This is the cutest way to promise never to tell your friend’s husband about her boyfriend. Expect anyone who uses this emoji to definitely not keep your secrets.
15) Face With Thermometer: Up until now, the best face to express sickness has been Face With Medical Mask, which is a very Jacko way to look at illness. Options!
14) Crab: Very versatile; good for calling out cranks or indicating sexual disease or suggesting dinner at Red Lobster. But do not get these confused, lest you find yourself at a seafood dinner with a grouchy pubic lice.
13) Turkey: Talking about Thanksgiving using only the drumstick has honestly been torture. This is a mitzvah.
12) Ice Hockey Stick and Puck: A quick and efficient threat; “I’m going to beat you like we both have ice skates on.”
11) Popcorn: Text your friend at the concession stand while infuriating your fellow theatergoers slightly less.
10) Dhyani Buddha: The perfect way to say, “Whatever, bitch, I’m zen.”
9) Thinking Face: It’s helpful to have an emoji that says basically says, “You said something and now it’s in my brain,” i.e., nothing. And if emoji isn’t the best way to say nothing, I don’t know what is.
8) Menorah With Nine Branches: Great for Hanukkah and for quickly communicating that you want to get lit up.
7) Unicorn Face: This is great, but honestly where is Narwhal Face. Justice for Horned Animals That Actually Exist.
6) Nerd Face: This is useful for quickly and easily insulting friends who insist upon knowing or caring about things. Lame.
5) Bottle With Popping Cork: There can never be enough ways to say celebration! Or congratulations! Or drinking!
4) Hot Dog: We can pretend this isn’t just for sexting, but between this and the new Taco emoji you basically never need to take a picture of your junk again. I said you NEVER NEED TO TAKE A PICTURE OF YOUR JUNK AGAIN.
3) Face With Rolling Eyes: Picking up where the Side Eye emoji (or “Unamused Face emoji”) leaves off. Good for not realizing that in fact, teen girls are usually right.
2) Cheese Wedge: Previously, cheese could be expressed as (Pizza emoji)—(Bread emoji)—(Multiple Large Red Circle emojis), but that was cumbersome. But now you can talk about what you’re eating at 3 am or what you thought of the ending of Interstellar without so much work.
1) Taco: Typing “(Taco emoji)?” is a whole four characters shorter than “Tacos?” That saves time that can be spent eating tacos.
Photo via The All Night Images/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)