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1.
Emoji (from Japanese 絵文字, read えもじ) (pl. emoji) are the tiny pictures you can put on your texts.

The word dates back to the early Japanese mobile phones. With the iPhone's plethora of icons, the word "emoji" became widespread, as it was what the keyboard was named.

It is made of two components, 絵 and 文字, meaning "picture" and "letter" respectively.
Therefore, any claims that tie the word to "emoticon" are etymologically WRONG.

Many teenage girls put way too many emoji in their texts, resulting in more icons than text. Some clever people manage to draw pictures using emoji, or play Connect Four, Tic-Tac-Toe, or even Chess using emoji.
"I'm so bored. Let's play connect four
□□□□□□□
□□□□□□□
□□□□□□□
□□□■□□□
Use red"

"Whenever my mom nags me using iMessage, I respond with an emoji of an eggplant. That gets her pissed every time."
Mom: "Do the dishes as soon as you're finished doing nothing."
Clever guy: "(eggplant emoji)"
Mom: "Are you fucking kidding me?"
by otaku sempai kun June 30, 2013
 
2.
Apparently a synonym for emoticon, emoji includes the prefix emo- from emotion and emoticon and the suffix -ji, which may come from ganji or kanji, which are the name for japanese and chinese picture words (like heiroglyphs).
four distinct emoji include:

:-)

(_*_)

(.Y.)

also, search "emoji."

:-D
by Soggyfoot November 23, 2011