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You've been saying these emoji names wrong your whole life


LONDON — If someone asked you to name as many emoji as possible, chances are the Eggplant Emoji would be one of the first to spring to mind.


It pops up all the time on social media and in jokey message exchanges. It’s pretty recognisable.

The thing is, it’s not actually called an eggplant emoji — at least, not technically.

It’s not a super well-known fact, but Unicode — the US company that standardises computerised text — has a tradition of naming emoji using British English.

“While the Unicode Consortium is based in the US, most emoji names use British English,” Emojipedia founder Jeremy Burge told Mashable.

What this means is that plenty of well-known emoji have slightly different names — at least on an official, code level — to the names they’re most popularly known by.

This is technically known as the Aubergine Emoji, for instance, not the “Eggplant Emoji”:

And this, instead of the Truck Emoji, is actually the Articulated Lorry Emoji.

This one, meanwhile, is officially the Ear of Maize Emoji — not the Ear of Corn.

Burge said the preference for British English appears to have been in place since 1993, and the release of Unicode 1.1.

“Before then, ISO and Unicode both had similar projects to document a list of universal characters,” he said. “In the early 90s Unicode and ISO merged their lists of characters, and decided they should stay in sync in future.

“It seems to have become an informal tradition since then to keep using British English for new character names, including emojis.”

Often, of course, the US-centric alias of an emoji will take over and become the more commonly used name. 

But hidden in the PDFs on Unicode’s website, the original names live on.

In British English it's 'Father Christmas', not 'Santa Claus'.

In British English it’s ‘Father Christmas’, not ‘Santa Claus’.

“Even though emojis didn’t exist in 1993, many text characters were later upgraded to emoji status,” added Burge. “This extends to the recent addition of Mother Christmas in 2016, who would be far more commonly known as Mrs Claus!”


You learn something new every day.



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