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Here's the 411 on All the Different Meanings for Heart Emojis

woman texting on cell phone
24 Heart Emoji Meanings to Send the Right MessageLaylaBird

If a picture paints a thousand words, heart emojis can pretty much do the same, getting your message of love across quickly and easily. That is, as long as you're up on all the various heart emoji meanings, which can be a tall order because there are now some two dozen of the cute little digital icons available on standard keyboards. No matter what you want to express around the subject of affection, you'll find a heart emoji to communicate it, from Valentine's Day wishes (a heart with an arrow, natch) to admiration for your ride-or-die (we're looking at you, smiley face with hearts!) or even grief over a breakup (broken heart if it's fresh, mending heart if it's not).

But while some of these examples might seem self-explanatory, like the ultra-passionate heart on fire, others—including the wildly chaotic purple heart—are so complicated they should come with a warning label. But fear not, because we're here to help clear up all the misunderstandings and avert potentially embarrassing miscommunications with our handy-dandy guide to heart emoji meanings. Just think, now you'll know exactly what that guy you went out with on that great first date means when he texts you a beating heart...as long as he's read our primer, too, of course.

Just keep in mind that none of the following has been set in stone anywhere. All language, even the language of symbols, evolves, and the interpretation of emojis remains way, way more subjective than scientific. Most of all, just have fun, because that's really what heart emojis are all about, isn't it? ❣💖🥰

Red Heart

The most popular of all the heart emojis, the red heart signifies love, as well as passion and romance, making it the perfect symbol of your fervent feelings. It's anything but casual, which means you don't want to send it to acquaintances, co-workers or after a first date, no matter how well it went. Keep it for communications with your inner circle, including your S.O., as well as close friends and family, and, of course, those Valentine's Day Instagram posts.

red heart emoji illustration
Turkan Rahimli - Getty Images

Heart on Fire

There's no doubt about it. The flaming heart emoji is lit. (Sorry, we just had to do it.) Seriously hot, and all about the kind of passion so fiery it burns, this one can reference a smoking hot relationship, or be posted along with🔥on an en fuego selfie or even as a comment on your BFF's latest spicy Insta pic. It's not the kind of thing you want to send to a family member or (eek) your boss.

flaming heart emoji with yellow, red and orange flames on a red heartlogo, icon
Shutterstock - Shutterstock

Broken Heart

So, the broken heart emoji should be as straightforward as it gets, right? Wrong. While plenty of people use it to convey real sorrow over anything from a bad breakup to the loss of a loved one, there are a wealth of others who bust it out only ironically (as in "I can't believe my market is out of low-fat oak milk 💔💔💔"). Honestly, we kind of love that snarky vibe.

broken red heart emoji in two halves with jagged edges
Turkan Rahimli - Getty Images

Heart Exclamation Point

If you've got good news—be it scoring Taylor Swift tix, a job promotion, or a new puppy—this is the emoji for you. A little goofy (in a good way❣) and plenty giddy, the heart exclamation point can also be dropped into exchanges when you're complimenting someone or firming up plans to meet. It's all about happy excitement, so stow it if you're discussing something serious.

heart exclamation point emoji with red heart above dot
Turkan Rahimli - Getty Images

Mending Heart

Say your heart's a little bruised and battered, probably from a busted romance, though maybe from another form of loss—this emoji announces that you're in the process of healing. It can also denote a more general personal growth phase, or that you're feeling a bit guarded. You can even send it to a loved one to let them know that you sympathize if they're hurting.

bandaged red heart emoji covered in two lines of adhesive tape across the top and middle
Davyd Kopych - Getty Images

Sparkle Heart

It's all good whenever you see, or share, this glimmering pink heart emoji that means you're excited about an event or just want to show extra affection for a friend or family member. Use it when you're captioning photos of weddings, vacays, or spa days, or in texts to your squad. Sometimes all that glitters really is gold!

pink heart emoji with two sparkling stars on either side of the heart
Davyd Kopych - Getty Images

Two Hearts

Flirty, festive, and super fun, this emoji has a playful, frisky spirit you're gonna wanna call on when sliding into a crush's DMs, texting your new fella, or just commenting on your bestie's socials. One of the most popular of all the heart emojis, it may be a little lightweight for use when you and your boo have gotten hot and heavy. On the other hand, stay away from it if you're friendzoning someone, lest you send the dreaded mixed signals.

double pink heart emoji with a large and small heart
Turkan Rahimli - Getty Images

Heart With Arrow

Thanks to its association with the Roman god Cupid, who shot mortals with arrows to make them fall in love, a heart pierced in such a way symbolizes romantic devotion. Use it with Valentine's Day posts or texts, as well as around other loved-up, swoony events such as anniversaries, weddings, and engagements. Under no circumstances should you send it to a platonic friend, unless you want to really confuse them.

pink heart emoji with a blue arrow diagonally through it
Shutterstock - Shutterstock

Heart With Ribbon

There's no keeping it casual with this emoji. You're literally gifting them your heart, wrapped up nice and neat with a snazzy bow. Next step is pretty much a ring and a honeymoon in Aruba. Kidding...but not really.

pink heart tied with a yellow ribbon emoji
Shutterstock - Shutterstock

Revolving Hearts

This is another very specific heart emoji, though you might not get the gist of it at first glance. Send it to your sweetie when you two are having a heart-to-heart, or you're accepting an apology (or apologizing). The double, orbiting hearts signal that you're simpatico and communicating in a meaningful and profound way.

revolving pink heart emoji with one heart in back of another and two swooshes to either side indicating they are orbiting each other
Turkan Rahimli - Getty Images

Beating Heart

Similar to the revolving hearts, the beating heart emoji is good for giving or accepting an apology, or when you and your honey are just on the same wavelength. Send it when you've had a great chat, a killer date, or they've made your pulse race. Not suitable for platonic friends.

beating pink heart emoji with three lines of brackets above each side of the heart
Shutterstock - Shutterstock

Growing Heart

Is your love for someone (or something) growing by leaps and bounds, or even slowly but steadily? Shout it from the rooftops, or at least social media, with this endearing expanding pink heart.

pink growing heart emoji with smaller darker pink heart, ith middle size lighter pink heart growing out of the top, with largest lightest pink heart growing out of that heart
Turkan Rahimli - Getty Images

Purple Heart

While the pretty, pleasing purple heart might at first glance seem to be generic enough to employ in any context, it turns out that it's actually the most confused (and confusing) of all the heart emojis. Not only can it reference the Purple Heart medal awarded to those heroes killed or wounded while serving our country, it's also used by fans of the K-pop boy band BTS. And thanks to a song called “Purple Emoji” by Ty Dolla $ign, it has come to mean, well, a serious case of hot pants. Go home, purple heart emoji. You're drunk.

purple heart emoji
Turkan Rahimli - Getty Images

Green Heart

Whether you're celebrating St. Pat's, Earth Day, spring, or just championing the environment in general or gardening specifically, you're gonna wanna go green. Don't forget to toss in a few fun extra emojis for added oomph—in particular, there are a boatload of adorbs nature-themed ones available, like: 🌲🌷🌿🍄🌼

green heart emoji
Turkan Rahimli - Getty Images

Blue Heart

Used to denote love for products and brands, as well as in patriotic or political posts, blue is considered a neutral heart emoji color. Use it at will with no fear of sending the wrong message, because there isn't really much of a message to it.

blue heart emoji
Turkan Rahimli - Getty Images

Light Blue Heart

There's a new heart emoji on the block (since 2022), and its light blue hue, according to Emojipedia, epitomizes "love, friendship, feelings of warmth, and the color blue." Cheerful, if not downright optimistic, it lacks the subtle bro aura of its deeper-colored cousin, and nicely conveys simple, good-natured affection. It's the golden retriever of the emoji world.

light blue heart emoji
Shutterstock - Shutterstock

Orange Heart

Unless you're posting or texting this baby with a bunch of cute Halloween or autumnal-themed emojis 🎃💀🍂🍁 or pics, you might not ever need it. You're definitely not going to want to use it in any kind of romantic way, because an orange heart (as opposed to, helllloooo, a red heart) is just so mealy-mouthed and meh.

orange heart emoji
Turkan Rahimli - Getty Images

Yellow Heart

One of the few heart emojis with a totally clear-cut meaning, this yellow and mellow fellow stands for platonic love. Send it to close friends, folks you'd like to get to know better, social media buddies, even family members—anyone, really, but a romantic interest. If you do, you'll probably find you just friendzoned yourself.

yellow heart emoji
Turkan Rahimli - Getty Images

Black Heart

Sure, the simple but striking black heart is a no-brainer for your Spooky Season Instas, but its gothy goodness can also communicate dark humor, deep sadness, or even grief. In other words, this isn't the emoji you want to include when you're aiming for cheery. Of course, you can always go for style over substance and just use a few to caption those arty black-and-white snaps you post every now and then.

black heart emoji
Turkan Rahimli - Getty Images

White Heart

While the basic white heart offers an undisputable bridal vibe ideal for an Instagram wedding post, due to its angel energy this emoji has especially caught on as a way of expressing sympathy to anyone mourning a loss. When possible, just remember to follow up with a visit, call, or even a handwritten note, which will all mean more to the bereaved than a text or message.

white heart emoji
Turkan Rahimli - Getty Images

Gray Heart

Also new in 2022, this gloomy Gus just screams emo, but looks sweet when paired with similarly shaded emojis: 👽⛰🪨🕸🐭🐘If you love cloudy days, the gray heart has your name written all over it.

pale gray heart emoji
Shutterstock - Shutterstock

Brown Heart

The least-popular heart emoji, the brown heart nonetheless serves an important purpose. Introduced to the public in 2019, it has since been utilized by Black and brown people to signify support for their communities, particularly around issues of racial justice and equality. White folks should avoid co-opting it as a way of showing solidarity for their BIPOC friends, but it's fine to use if you're declaring your love of, say, chocolate pie.

brown heart emoji
Turkan Rahimli - Getty Images

Purple Text Box Heart

Can we be honest? No. Nope. There's no real meaning behind this emoji, at all, and it just looks like you're trying waaaay too hard to be quirky. We don't all have to be Zooey Deschanel, you know? Unless you're going for some ragingly purple aesthetic, let this icon of an icon be.

heart decoration emoji with a white heart cut into a purple box
Shutterstock - Shutterstock

Smiley Face With Hearts

So chipper it nearly hurts, like 😍 and 😘, the smiley face with hearts might not truly rate as a heart emoji, but we're throwing caution to the wind and including it. Looks spiffy with ❤ and❣ and is totally on point when you want to dispatch feelings of gratitude, warmth, delight and love. Good for dashing off to your mom, grandma, and BFF.

yellow smiling face emoji with smiling eyes and three hearts
Yevhen Borysov - Getty Images

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