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18 December 1998updated 07 Jun 2021 8:21am

A guide to the secret meanings of Apple’s new emoji

By Amelia Tait

In the second century AD, early Christians were forced to use the ichthys, or sign of the fish, to identify each other while avoiding persecution. Some would draw it on the dirt, others would engrave it on tombs; all would look forward to the day when secret symbols could be sent surreptitiously over the airwaves to an awaiting mobile operating system.

With the release of iOS 10.2 yesterday, Apple has now blessed the public with 104 new emojis. While some have obvious meanings – most root vegetables, being simply vegetables, could never be mistaken for anything else – others are part of a complex, hidden code used by teenagers across the world.

Yet although most of us are now aware that a peach is a butt (side note: a butt, in return, is not a peach), it can be hard to keep up to date with emojis’ real meanings. To save you the awkwardness of bungling a communication with a youth, we’ve created this handy guide:


The brand new bendy croissant emoji is now being used as a badge of pride for those who disapprove of Brexit and oppose tyranny. This isn’t simply because of the pastry’s association with France, but because of Tesco’s decision to stock only straight croissants in its stores earlier this year. This, rightfully, was seen by many as a fascist move, thus the curved croissant became a symbol of freedom for our age.

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Fox Face

Look closely at this fox face and you will see the secrets of its meaning. Note the distance between its eyes, the three prongs of its whiskers, and the black tips of its ears: this fox represents a crippling fear of death.


No meaning whatsoever.



Much has been made of the arrival of the avocado emoji, which now allows youths to accurately portray their love of brunch. Few are aware that brunch itself has a hidden meaning, however, as translated from millennial-speak the concept means: “I am not a racist.”

Lying Face

Excuse the incoming vulgarity, dear readers, but the first ever emoji nose is now being used to represent the central part of the male anatomy. Theresa May has been informed.

Lady Doctor

The “lady doctor”, as a paradox, represents something that simply cannot be. For example, teenagers might use it thus:

“Fam, are you aware that trickle-down economics will enable high-income earners to better alleviate the woes of the working class?”

“Lol, [Lady Doctor emoji here]”

Carrot Farmer

The carrot farmer, as a man we all want to be or be with, represents our hopes – no matter how frail – for the future. Teenagers will use it when discussing Ucas applications and upcoming prom dates, adults may use it to express their faith that, when they return home tonight, their housemate will not have polished off the last of the leftover hummus.

Clown Face

A rumour is circulating that those who look directly into the clown emoji’s eyes for more than five seconds will instantly go mad. This is true. Use it with caution.


The pancake: a symbol of growth. The butter: a reminder to never forget where you come from. The syrup: the trappings of celebrity. This emoji teaches us all to stay humble, gracious, kind.