Posted October 29, 2015 by Amy in Books

The Emoji-to-English Dictionary (Book) Review


“How to be hilarious with emojis”

If you’ve spent literally any time at all on the internet, chances are you’ve come across an emoji or two (or fifty). Texting, posting, emailing…every written message seems like it can be brightened with a smiley face here and there. The use of emojis can help convey the intended mood of your text, which can help head misunderstandings. Of course, things have evolved way past the simple smiley face. The trend now is to combine multiple emojis. You can actually convey whole thoughts without ever typing a single letter.

There are hundreds of different emojis to choose from, and not all of their meanings are as easy to decipher as a sad face or a wink – especially when used in conjunction with others. Plus, there’s the whole issue of internet fluency to deal with – the eggplant emoji will mean much different things to your grandmother than it does to your giggling roommate. Thankfully, there’s help for the emoji-impaired. The Emoji-to-English Dictionary promises to be “your text-message translation guide”. What does that mean? Basically, it gives you phrases written in emoji, along with their translations into standard English.

It’s a small, compact paperback book that is heavy on emojis and light on text. Each page features an illustrated emoji phrase in full color, with the English translation below it. There’s just one phrase per page, so it certainly isn’t a comprehensive dictionary by any means – but it is amusing. The phrases are arranged into eight “chapters” ranging from everyday phrases to sex and dating. A lot of the emoji combinations are quite clever, and their meaning fairly clear once you start trying to decipher it. But there are also plenty of phrases shown that even the most skilled emoji user would have trouble figuring out. The translations are there, of course, but if you intend to actually use the emoji phrases in your texting, it’s nice if your friends have some idea what you’re talking about.

Does anyone really need an emoji to English dictionary? Not really, but it could definitely be a fun gag gift for the friend who has everything, or an unique white elephant gift for your office exchange. It’s really short on text, enough that it feels like more of a picture book than anything, and not all of the emoji phrases are actually clear enough to use. That being said, it’s a fun (if quick) read that might just be your go-to gift for gag exchanges.


U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)