Of all the thousands of emotes, one has earned the distinction of becoming legendary, and now stands head and shoulders above the rest in popularity.
Based on a former Justin.TV (the previous incarnation of Twitch) employee named Josh DeSeno, the ‘Kappa’ emote has become the quintessential, and most recognizable Twitch pictogram. Many Twitch emotes are used millions of times each day, with Kappa routinely being the icon that tops the charts.
You’ll most likely see the grayscale Kappa head being used as a way of trolling or conveying sarcasm, although its popularity has ensured it now often transcends these purposes. Beloved by many, Kappa has received multiple alternate forms, with a KappaClaus and KappaPride being available for use as well. A rare golden Kappa can also bestowed upon those deemed worthy enough.
Depicting the excited face of TriHex, a popular Twitch streamer and speedrunner, ‘TriHard’ has risen in popularity since its arrival on the streaming scene in 2012. However, the beaming emote didn’t always hold the connotations that it does today. It was only following a speedrun of Yoshi’s Island, in which TriHex was attempting to show off his speedrunning skills, did it earn the moniker of TriHard.
In recent years some debate has arisen over the continued presence of this emote, due to its deplorable use by racists, and should therefore be used with extreme care and thoughtfulness.
TriHard should only be used to express your excitement at what you’re seeing or hearing on screen; when the action is reaching a crescendo and you can’t contain your enthusiasm any longer. As the emote’s designation also suggests, feel free to whip out this icon when you think a streamer is putting a little bit too much energy into showing off.
Based on the shocked face of fighting game expert, Ryan ‘Gootecks’ Gutierrez, the ‘PogChamp’ has been a wholesome staple Twitch emote ever since the early days of the platform. Gutierrez’s startled face originally gained internet popularity when it was featured in a Counter Cross TV outtakes video in 2010.
The surprised pictograph was then quickly adopted by Twitch staff and users, and earned its name following the release of a 2011 MadCatz promo video in which Gutierrez was hilariously crowned the Pog champion.
PogChamp represents the ultimate Twitch emote embodiment of surprise or excitement, and can be used most appropriately in situation that you didn't see coming.
The fourth most popular Twitch emote conveniently - and perhaps spookily - features the the number four in its designation. It’s also a picture of a head, so it wins points for being perhaps the most aptly named emote on this entire list. Another wholesome icon, ‘4head’ depicts the happy grinning face of popular League of Legends streamer Cadburry.
The straightforward nature of this emote ensures it’s really easy to use, as there aren’t really any deeper meanings here that you should be aware of. If you’ve just played witness to something funny, amusing, or just plain heartwarming; this is the perfect emote to show your appreciation.
The origins of the ‘cmonBruh’ emote, and where it first gained internet popularity from, are not exactly known. Some have suggested the owner of the head may have been a Twitch staff member. However, since its arrival on the Twitch scene in 2016, it has become one of the more controversial emotes due to its abhorrent use and adoption by racists.
cmonBruh is another relatively straightforward emote that should only be used when you feel shocked or confused at something you’ve seen or heard. Due to the controversial nature of its adoption, it is recommended users be careful when using this emote so as to avoid upsetting or causing offense to others.
The function of ‘LUL’ should be rather self explanatory for anyone who’s spent more than five minutes on the internet; think of this emote as the giant Twitch-faced equivalent of typing out lol. Based on the laughing face of the now sadly late John Bain, aka Totalbiscuit, LUL first rose to prominence in 2014 as one of the YouTuber’s subscriber exclusive emotes.
A legal dispute over the ownership of the photo, in that same year, would see the emote being officially removed from Twitch for some time. In 2017 an altered version was released as a free global emote, and from there it’s popularity has surged.
This emote is the perfect way of expressing deep amusement or laughter. Bain’s original keyword designation labeled it as a specifically cynical laugh, so users should be mindful of these connotations and amusing implications when using it as well.
Before we dive into entry number seven on this list, we first need to briefly explain, what exactly are BTTV emotes?
BTTV, aka BetterTTV, is a relatively recent third-party extension to the Twitch landscape. The service was designed to enhance the Twitch experience, with one of its advertised features being the ability for users to create their own unique - and often zany - Twitch emotes!
Which brings us to our next entry on this runtdown, the BTTV ‘enhanced’ version of LUL, more commonly referred to as the ominous ‘omegalul’. This exaggerated incarnation of Totalbiscuit’s face appears to be primed to swallow an unfortunate soul whole.
Omegalul functions much in the same way that LUL does; it’s all about showing how hard you’re laughing. Only, as its over the top proportions may suggests, omegalul is a more extreme and pronounced way of doing this.
haHAA is easily one of the most awkward emotes you’ll ever likely stumble across on Twitch. And that’s for a very good reason.
Taken from a Lonely Island Music video that aired on Saturday Night Live in 2010, the grimacing face of American actor and comedian Andy Samberg has since become immortalized on Twitch through the BTTV service. Arriving on the streaming scene in 2015, it would take a whole year before this emote gained widespread notoriety through its use in the Twitch’s speedrunning community.
haHAA has become the de facto way of expressing discomfort and awkwardness on Twitch. If something so cringeworthy has happened on a stream, that you’ve instantly wanted to shudder in pain, then this is the emote for you.
The third consecutive BTTV exclusive Twitch emote on this list, ‘SourPls’, depicts the Twitch staff member known as ‘SourNotHardcore’ extravagantly dancing in the aisles of a Toys “R” Us toy store.
Having been taken from a video Sour himself posted to YouTube back in 2007, this emote has become notorious in the Twitch community due to the fact it is animated in nature.
As the stylish and free flowing dance moves being put on display in the video might suggest, this emote is best used as a way of celebrating a momentous occasion.
Considering how diverse the culture of Twitch can be, it should be no surprise that on of the interents most enduring memes, Pepe the cartoon Frog, should find his way into the lexicon of the platform in two different forms.
The green anthropomorphic frog, having been created by comic artist Matt Furie way back in 2005, has been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride of things lately, having sadly been weaponized and twisted by the alt-right in recent years.
FeelsBadMan and FeelsGoodMan represent two opposing sides of the same coin; one can be used to express sadness and disappointment, while the other stands for jubilation and happiness.
MonkaS brings us to the third Twitch incarnation of the Pepe the frog meme. This version of the green amphibian, which first sprung up in 2011 courtesy of the 4chan forums, depicts a petrified Pepe, and has become popular across the internet since then.
As Pepe’s rigid stance, and the beads of sweat pouring off his face probably infer, this Twitch emote is all about expressing how anxious and stressed out you are.
If you’ve been paying enough attention to this rundown, the next Twitch emote on our list should look a tiny bit familiar to you. Not only are we sticking with the Pepe theme, but we’re also making yet another reference to Pogs and the PogChamp emote from earlier.
Inspired by the aforementioned emote, this iteration of Pepe pays direct homage to Gootecks, and should be used to express excitement in unfathomable situations where you’d rather do that through the deployment of a cartoon frog.
Have we mentioned yet how enduring and widespread the Pepe meme is on the internet? With the presence of five different versions of the creature on this list, it’s fair to say Twitch is basically infested with frogs at this point.
This crying version of Pepe, who happens to have been drawn holding his hands close to his face in an exasperated manner, is best used to convey feelings of extreme sadness and sorrow.
Think of the metalic ‘Mr. Destructoid’ as the more stylish and exuberant cousin of the basic free robot emotes. This severed head first rose to prevalence in 2006 - along with the rest of his body - as the official mascot of the popular video game website Destructoid. His relevance to Twitch transcends his humble origins however, and is now often seen when a streamer has done something weird or artificial.
Mr Destructoid is the perfect Twitch emote to unleash when the stream you’re watching hits unfortunate technical difficulties.
After getting through so many emotes dedicated to cartoon characters, we’re finally back to photographs of actual real-life people! ‘Jebaited’ uses the expressive face of Alex Jebailey; the organiser behind the annual Community Effort Orlando (CEO) fighting game event. The clue to the purpose of this emote lies in the second half of its designation, as Jebaited is all about calling out the shady shenanigans of a streamer or commentator.
If you ever feel yourself getting drawn into a trap, or someone else's attempts to troll, feel free to whip out this emote to let them know you’re on to them.
To fully comprehend the meaning of ‘GachiGASM’ you first have to understand a little bit of Japanese. According to Polygon, in Japanese the term ‘gachimuchi’ specifically refers to a well built muscular man, who also happens to be carrying a little bit of extra weight.
Which conveniently brings us to Billy Herrington, a former adult film star whose face you’ll see when you type out this BTTV emote. As you may have guessed, the ‘gasm’ part of the emote comes from his former occupation…
GachiGASM indicates that you’ve just witnessed something that brings you intense pleasure and overwhelming happiness.
Kreygasm, while worthy of note for its popularity, is also significant for the fact it’s given us yet another delightful opportunity to use the word ‘gasm’ in a sentance. This emote depicts the face of Twitch streamer Kreyg, and was submitted to Justin.tv in 2011 following a request by the platform for pictographic icons.
In terms of how you use it, Kreygasm shares a lot of characteristics with gachiGASM from earlier; if you couldn’t already tell that from the facial expression Kreyg is pulling. Basically, have you ever felt intense elation or pleasure while watching a stream? If for some reason the answer to that is yes, then this might be the emote for you.
The phenomenon of calling out someone for being ‘salty’, after they’ve expressed a sour reaction to something you deem positive, is a wonderful addition to the English lexicon. (Provided it’s used in a manner that won’t hurt or cause offense of course!)
It's perhaps for this reason that this black and white emote equivalent, of course based on an upturned can of salt, has gained so much traction on Twitch.
If a streamer or viewer has just been proven wrong, or is throwing an overblown temper tantrum in reaction to something, feel free to send them this message in response.
BibleThump is one of the rare emotes on this list to actually have been taken directly from a game. Lifted from the excellent indie roguelike video game, The Binding of Isaac, this emote is based on the crying face of that games titular hero. Having been added to Twitch in 2012, the emote takes inspiration for its name directly from the games plot.
Anyone who’s played The Binding of Isaac, or knows anything about the lore found within it, will instantly know what kind of situations in which this emote is best used. (The fact this icon of Isaac also depicts the toddler crying, should probably be a more obvious give too.) It’s most frequently used within Twitch chats to convey a feeling of deep sadness.
One of the golden rules of hosting a Twitch marathon has to be that, under no circumstance, can you ever go to sleep during it. Otherwise there’s a decent chance your viewers will forever immortalize you on the internet as a meme.
The streamer known as Oddler is a testament to this, as after getting to hour 66 of his own 72 hours Resident Evil stream, he did exactly that. Now his sleepy face has become both a cautionary warning, and Twitch’s most popular way of saying you’re going to sleep.
ResidentSleeper is the very embodiment of boredom, if you’re struggling to keep your eyes open, you can use this one to let the rest of the chat know about your struggle.
Very few Twitch emotes truly symbolize their deeper meanings better than this visage of despair; just glimpsing it’s presence for a mere second is enough to tell you you’re looking at one of the purest expressions of fear.
Known on the streaming platform as ‘WutFace’, this icon is based on the confused expression of Twitch esports broadcaster Alex "GoldenBoy" Mendez.
If a Twitch streamer has said something you don’t understand, and you’re a little bit alarmed by it, then using this emote might prompt them to seek to put your mind at rest through the issuing of a clarification.
DansGame shares a couple of similarities with the previously mentioned WutFace (mainly that they’re both very confused at their current situations), to the point where it isn’t hard to picture someone’s expression transitioning from the aforementioned emote to this one.
Taken from the Twitch streamer known as DansGaming, this photograph was clearly captured after someone had said something objectively false or disgusting.
DansGame works well for all the same reasons that WutFace does, or alternatively to that, you could use it in conjunction with it to form a solid 1-2 hit combo.
The final emote to squeak onto the list of the top 25 Twitch emotes is only the second picture to have its design taken from a game. In the Warhammer 40K series, ‘SMOrc’ simply stands for Space Marine Orc; which if you’ve ever seen this emote in action, you’ll probably agree is a fitting description for it.
The SMOrc emote has a couple of handy uses. Primarily, it acts as an easy way to callout someone who’s being obnoxious, nasty, or rude. But, because Orcs are great for pillaging and ransacking places, users have also been known to occasionally deploy it when they’re issuing demands of the Twitch streamer they’re watching.
With over 2.2 million broadcasters, and a staggering average 15 million daily active users, Twitch’s astronomical rise to streaming dominance shows no signs of slowing down in the immediate future.
The platform's ascension has been so rapid that it’s even managed to spawn a brand new picture-based language, one that’s so complex it might appear to be from an entirely different planet.
Fear not though, to become fluent in the use of Twitch emotes you don’t need to seek the aid of a translator, the following guide is all you’re going to need to get right up to speed with this latest gaming phenomenon!
The easiest way to wrap your head around Twitch emotes is to think of them as the streaming service’s equivalent of the emoji, only dialed up to the extreme.
Much like the funny little blobs that litter your text conversation with friends, emotes are essentially tiny picture based graphics designed to add flavor and expression to your otherwise drab looking words.
Unlike emojis, or their emoticon predecessors, Twitch emotes are wildly more detailed and come in a staggering array of shapes and sizes.
Twitch Emotes can be broken down and put into four main categories:
You might be surprised to learn that, despite becoming so integral to the Twitch experience, emotes were not always a part of the platforms unique culture. Even though Twitch was unleashed upon the internet on June 6, 2011, it would take 4 whole years for the meme-filled pictographic symbols to take over in 2015.
Since then, they’ve won affection from both streamers and viewers alike, and are an essential part of the Twitch community.
Understanding the deeper meaning behind some of Twitch’s more obscure
self-referential emotes, can sometimes feel like you need to have taken a College class dedicated to each of them. Thankfully, actively using them in your conversations is a much more straightforward process.
Emotes can be deployed primarily to the Twitch chat feed of a streamer; the constantly scrolling wall of messages that’s become such an iconic part of the entire experience.
Users simply click on the beaming smiley face located within the top right hand corner of their chat box, and then select the emotes they wish to insert into their messages.
Alternatively, bonus points to those of you who do happen to have an encyclopedic knowledge of emotes, as typing out the name of the code for the icon you want - in the message box - will do the trick as well.
As we’ve said, since their implementation Twitch emotes have become synonymous with the steaming service’s brand. That’s in no small part down to the fact they perfectly embody the relaxed and inclusive vibe that runs throughout the heart of the platform.
In short, they’re mainly just fun to use!
Taking a step back to think about the topic more broadly, just like their pictorial cousin the emojis, emotes derive their name from the word emotion. Using emotes in your messages basically allows a user to communicate their feelings in a more obvious, and often humorous manner.
In the age of the Internet, a time when simple words can often lose the subtle way in which they were intended, emotes allow you to infuse tone and enthusiasm back into what you’re saying.
Twitch implemented the emotes system as a way of ensuring viewers felt connected to the action that they were watching.
Emotes are the perfect way to express your thoughts and feelings, especially since the breakneck speed in which many Twitch chats move can make it feel like your voice is getting lost in an ocean of sound.
Quickly dropping in a few emotes allows a viewer to always ensure they are able to adequately express themselves, while also remaining a part of a fast flowing conversation.
It’s nearly impossible to put an exact figure on how many emotes Twitch has in its repertoire, mainly because streamers have the opportunity to release their own creations into the global population, and the number is therefore always on the rise.
The figure is easily within the tens of thousands at this point however. What we do know for certain is that the number of emotes dwarfs the number of emojis, which as of right now, boasts a rather poultry 2,823 characters.