Ever seen an Instagram emoji fail IRL? Maybe your grandma used an eggplant emoji in a… compromising place. Or, your uncle was trying to be funny and added the poop emoji to his bio.
Whatever the case, emoji etiquette exists. Understanding the meaning and placement of emojis is essential to avoiding terrible, embarrassing communication mistakes.
Here’s everything you need to know about Instagram emoji meanings.
BONUS: Want to learn more ways to wow your fans on social? Check out our article on secret TikTok emojis.
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Instagram emoji translator
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Not only does the translator break down each pictogram’s meaning, but it also details how viewers typically react to the combo. Super helpful if you don’t want to send an unintended message!
Please note: This tool may display inaccurate or offensive material that doesn’t represent Hootsuite’s views. You’re solely responsible for use of any content generated using this tool, including its compliance with applicable laws and third-party rights.
What are Instagram emoji?
Instagram emoji are pictograms, icons, or small images used to express an emotion, idea, or feeling. Some emoji are universal (most people know that the heart symbol means love), while others have their own unique interpretations based on regional culture and language.
Popular emoji symbols include:
- Smiley face
- Sad face
- Clapping hands
There are literally thousands of emoji characters available on Instagram—from dragons and lizards, people exercising, and even ice cream cones. You can find Instagram emojis in two places: your native Instagram app and the world of third-party keyboard extensions.
What are Instagram reactions?
Instagram reactions are a way to quickly express your feelings without typing out a response. For example, if someone posts a funny meme, you can tap the laughing face emoji reaction instead of typing out “lol” or “haha.”
Instagram reactions are generally used as a reply to Instagram Stories and Instagram direct messages.
When watching a Story, click on the Send a message box to reply. You’ll then see a pop-up of six popular emoji to choose from.
You can also choose your own emoji by clicking on the small smiley face icon on your keyboard.
To use Instagram emoji reactions for direct messages, hold your finger down on the sent message, and a list of emoji will pop up. Choose from this list, or click the plus button to use your own emoji.
Where can you use Instagram emoji
You can use Instagram emoji in comments, captions, direct messages, as replies to Stories, and even in your Instagram bio. Basically, anywhere that allows for text input.
When you’re in a comment thread or writing a caption, a list of your most-used emojis will appear at the top of your reply.
If you want more, tap the smiley face icon to access Instagram emojis. If you’ve recently used an emoji, it will usually appear at the top of the list so you can easily select it again.
Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a fitness influencer used to grow from 0 to 600,000+ followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.
Stuck at home thinking, “Why can’t I react to Instagram messages with emojis?” No worries. You may need to update your messaging app. Follow Instagram’s easy how-to here.
How to change your emoji reaction
Wondering how to react with emoji on Instagram? There are six default Instagram emoji reactions:
- Crying face
- Wow face
- Heart eyes
- Laughing face
- Clapping hands
If you use custom emoji, they will show up in your reactions, allowing you to choose from a larger selection.
To choose a custom emoji, tap the smiley face icon on your mobile keyboard. Scroll through the list of options and tap to select the emoji you want. Once selected, it will appear in your reaction selection.
BONUS: Check out our full list of Snapchat emoji to snazz up your snaps.
Instagram reaction meanings
To avoid any potential misinterpretations, it’s important to remember the meanings behind Instagram reactions.
Here’s what each emoji reaction stands for:
- Crying face () = Sadness, disappointment
- Wow face () = Surprised or amazed
- Heart eyes () = Love or admiration
- Laughing face () = Funny or humorous
- Clapping hands () = Encouragement or applause
- Fire () = Approval or agreement
Remember, the reactions you use should be appropriate for the context. For example, don’t express sadness at a funny meme. Similarly, don’t use a fire emoji to comment on your teacher’s vacation beach photo.
Popular Instagram emoji meanings
Tired of deciphering the meanings of emoji for Instagram? Here’s a quick reference sheet to keep on file.
- Thumbs up () = Positive sentiment.
- Thinking face () = Curiosity, pondering ideas.
- Laughing with tears () = Something is so funny you’re crying.
- Red heart () = Love, affection.
- Puke face () = Disgust or disapproval.
- Skull () = Death, danger, or something is so funny you died.
- Hot face () = Passion or admiration.
- Smirk face () = Flirting, teasing.
- Poop () = Joking around.
- Party popper () = Celebration.
- Cat () = Cuteness or someone acting like a cat.
- Drooling face () = Desperation, wanting something badly.
- Nail polish () = Girl power.
- Sunglasses () = Coolness, acknowledgement of a job well done.
- Eyes () = Watching or paying attention.
- See-no-evil monkey () = Embarrassment or hiding something.
- Money bag () = Wealth, success, or materialistic desires.
- Smiling devil face () = Naughtiness or reckless behavior.
- Hugging face () = Appreciation, affection.
- Wink () = Flirting or playful teasing.
- Silly face () = Fun or being goofy.
- Nerd face () = Intelligence, nerdiness.
- Confused face () = Bewilderment or uncertainty.
- Money mouth () = Greed or wealth.
- Handshake () = Agreement, making a deal.
- Fist bump () = Support or agreement.
- Woman dancing () = Joy or celebration.
- Man dancing () = Letting loose, having fun.
- Tropical island () = Relaxation or vacation.
- Plane () = An upcoming journey.
- Rainbow () = Optimism, happiness, pride.
- Globe () = Unity, the world coming together.
- Praying hands () = Asking for blessings or help.
- Rocketship () = A great success or achievement.
- Disco ball () = Partying or having a good time.
- Peace sign () = Affirmative, agreement, or a sign of peace.
- Heart () = Love, care, and affection.
- Cat with heart eyes () = Happiness due to love.
- Birthday cake () = A celebration of life.
- Star () = Stardom, achieving greatness.
- Four-leaf clover () = Luck or fortune.
- Sparkles () = Magic, beauty, and awe.
- Trophy () = Accomplishment or success.
- Shooting star () = Wishes coming true.
- Lightning bolt () = Power, energy, and excitement.
Looking for fun emoji to use on Discord? Check out our full list of Discord emoji, complete with customizations and tricks.
Instagram emoji caption ideas
If you want to get creative with your Instagram bio, here are a few cute emojis for Instagram bios:
- Chasing dreams and sunshine.
- On a seafood diet: I see food and I eat it!
- Life’s a game , and I’m the master of figuring out the rules as I go .
- Bringing a little sparkle wherever I go.
- Hoping for a year where all my socks find their soulmates.
- Sunkissed and heart full of joy.
- Nature doesn’t hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
- Collecting memories like seashells.
- Plotting world domination , one project at a time.
- Life’s a blend of chaos , caffeine , and a pinch of serendipity .
- Lost in the pages of a good book and a happy heart.
- Radiating good energy, one smile at a time.
- Exploring new places with a skip in my step.
- Happiness blooms from within.
- Living life unapologetically and loving it.
- Sunset state of mind.
- Embracing adulting like… wait, how do you adult again?
- I take mirror selfies because my reflection understands me.
- Wearing my invisible crown and ruling the day.
- Professional napper and aspiring world traveler.
- Dressed to impress , ready to conquer deadlines and dance floors .
- Spreading positivity like glitter – it gets everywhere!
- Slaying the day one caffeine molecule at a time.
- Living that “I’m not a morning person” stereotype proudly.
- Exploring the world, one food coma at a time.
- Absolutely loving the sunshine on my face.
- Embracing the little moments that make life big.
- Laughing at my own jokes like…
- Dancing through life’s ups and downs.
- Finding joy in the simplest things.
- Balancing dreams , goals , and the occasional pizza slice .
- Hiking trails and chasing sunsets – that’s my kind of therapy.
- Adventures and smiles, that’s my kind of therapy.
- Savoring the sweetness of today.
- Life’s a puzzle , and I’m collecting moments to complete the picture
- Living life with a little bit of sugar, spice, and everything fried.
- Spreading positivity like confetti.
- Collecting memories around the world, one destination at a time.
Life’s too short for a boring adventure. Let’s get lost!
- Living in a world of filters, but my personality is 100% real!
- Lost in a world of good vibes.
- Living for the moments that steal my smile.
- City lights and late nights. Chasing waves and dreams.
- Living life in full bloom.
- In a world full of trends, be a classic.
- Sweatpants enthusiast with a PhD in Netflix.
- Taking each day one cup of coffee at a time.
- Exploring art, one brushstroke at a time.
- Adventures are calling, and I must go.
- Counting memories, not calories, on this vacation.
- Finding joy in the rhythm of everyday life.
- Living life like a work of art in progress.
- Weekend warrior on a quest for relaxation.
- Capturing moments that make my heart skip a beat.
- Trying to adult, but my snacks keep distracting me.
- Chasing goals and catching smiles along the way.
- I’m not procrastinating, I’m just giving my ideas time to marinate.
- Flipping my hair and conquering the day.
- Exploring the great outdoors and my own backyard.
- Celebrating life’s beautiful mess one day at a time.
- Making my own sunshine because I can’t find the remote.
- Happiness is homemade, and I’m the chef.
- When life gives you lemons, add tequila and have a party!
- Living life like a perpetual DIY project – mostly Pinterest fails.
- The only drama I enjoy is in my lashes.
- Current status: Coffee in one hand, confidence in the other.
- Facing challenges with the determination of a honey badger – fearless and a little bit sassy .
- My bed and I have the perfect relationship – we’re always in a good sleepover.
- I’m not arguing, I’m just explaining why I’m right.
- Taking life one cup of coffee at a time, with a splash of sarcasm.
- “Adulting” was a typo, and I’ve been trying to “adult” ever since.
- When in doubt, add more glitter. And then some more.
- Living life like it’s a marathon, but I’m definitely built for sprinting.
- Behind every great person is a pile of laundry they’ve been avoiding.
- I put the “elusive” in exercise.
- My superpower? Turning pizza into energy.
- If I were a superhero, my power would be finding the last piece of chocolate.
- My horoscope said I should do something crazy today. So I wore mismatched socks.
- I’m not clumsy, I’m just participating in the floor’s obstacle course.
- Too glam to give a damn, but not too glam to eat leftovers.
- When life gives you lemons, trade them for coffee.
- My life is basically a series of unfinished DIY projects.
- Life update: Still using “adulting” as a verb, still unsure how to do it properly.
- I’m not lazy, I’m in energy-saving mode.
- Currently taking applications for a personal chef, laundry fairy, and motivation guru. Any takers?
- Life’s a rollercoaster, and I’m the one screaming in the front seat.
- I run on caffeine, chaos, and a dash of lipstick.
- Wander often, wonder always.
- Trading WiFi for wide-open spaces and unforgettable moments.
- Counting down to Friday like it’s a rocket launch to the weekend.
- Juggling tasks like a circus performer – except with more coffee and fewer acrobatics .
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