Tears of joy most popular emoji of 2021

Why write an actual response if you're laughing so hard that you're crying?

Bree Fowler Senior Writer
Bree Fowler writes about cybersecurity and digital privacy. Before joining CNET she reported for The Associated Press and Consumer Reports. A Michigan native, she's a long-suffering Detroit sports fan, world traveler, wannabe runner and champion baker of over-the-top birthday cakes and all-things sourdough.
Expertise cybersecurity, digital privacy, IoT, consumer tech, smartphones, wearables
Bree Fowler
Tears of joy emoji

Tears of joy remains the most popular emoji across the world.


Blame the pandemic. After nearly two years of shutdowns, self isolation, masks and social distancing, we should probably be happy that at least people are crying "tears of joy" rather than just, well, crying.

According to a new report from the Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit focused on digitizing the world's languages, the tears of joy emoji was the most used during 2021. That emoji accounted for over 5% of all emoji use.

The heart emoji finished second, while the "rolling on the floor laughing" emoji -- which looks a lot like the tears of joy emoji turned slightly sideways -- came in third.

The results were very similar to those of a pre-pandemic study done by the consortium in 2019. Tears of joy and the heart also were the top two finishers that year. And while the order of the top 10 varied, the two lists included nine of the same emoji.

The study also found that while there are 3,663 emoji in existence, the top 100 emoji represented 82% of all shares globally this year. 

So what emoji are the least popular? In terms of categories, flags ranked last this year. And, within that, the subcategory of country flags, which includes a total of 258 emoji, was the least popular of all.