You’re using the merman emoji wrong – the ‘filthy’ icons that aren’t so innocent

Ever since the Internet was first created, digital slang has entertained, baffled, and intrigued web surfers.

Since the introduction of emoji to the keyboards of every smartphone, things have become even more confusing.

Many of these small graphics are used to represent things other than what they're illustrating. Misusing emoji can be both embarrassing and hilarious—like if your mum sends you an aubergine with the shopping list.

However, while some rude emoji are obvious, not all of them are. Here's some of the emoji that have wildly different meanings to what you might expect, so think carefully before you send someone a merman.

Many emoji are used for sexting. The aubergine(or eggplant) emoji is probably the most well-known, and is used to represent a man's meat and two veg.

Similarly, the taco emoji illustrates female genitals, while the 'OK' hand emoji (which is often used by scuba divers to say everything's fine) actually means penetrative sex.

Animals don't get off lightly either. The camel emoji has, well, a hump, while the rhino's got its horn.

The strangest one is possibly the 'Merman' emoji, which refers explicitly to his fork. Then there's the 'Cancer' zodiac sign, which features a horizontal 69…

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New emoji are constantly being added to our keyboards. This month, Apple revealed it will be adding around 838 new emoji to its devices, including a controversial 'pregnant man', a melting face and multiethnic handshakes.

"These emojis have been approved to make the emoji keyboard more consistent and gender inclusive, in line with the same steps we saw for other emojis in recent years," wrote Jane Soloman, a Senior Emoji Lexicographer.

She continued: "Naming conventions aside, men can be pregnant. This applies to the real world (e.g. trans men) and to fictional universes (e.g. Arnold Schwarznegger in Junior and Lil Nas X's promotional materials for his album 'Montero'.) People of any gender can be pregnant too. Now there are emojis to represent this."

It's unclear what the exact slang meaning of these additions will be yet, although once the Internet gets its hands on the new 'beans' emoji, all bets are off.

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