For the world’s fastest growing language, emoji’s vocabulary is awfully constrained. Although creative combinations are always possible, it’s possible to send a high-five through emoji—but not a face palm. It’s possible to type an iconographic queen—but no king. And there’s a snail—but no squid.
That is about to change. On Thursday, the Unicode Consortium announced an additional set of emoji being considered for 2016. Next year, you might be able to send your friends a typographical rendering of:
- a shrimp
- a squid
- an egg
- a glass of milk
- a peanut
- a kiwi fruit
These join the more than 60 emoji candidates announced in early October, whose rank include an avocado, a shruggie, and a doner kebab sandwich.
“At this point, the characters for Unicode 9.0 are candidates—not yet finalized—so some may be removed from the candidate list, and others may be added,” cautions an authorless post on the Unicode Blog. These seven new characters were added because they satisfy the “emoji inclusion factors,” a list of criteria that demand new emoji be visually distinctive, not too specific, and have a “high expected frequency of use.”
But what does it mean for something to be a candidate emoji? A superior name for this status may be “emoji-elect.” Emoji candidacy means that an icon is very, very close to hitting the big leagues—in other words, to being included on the iOS and Android mobile keyboards.