• Emoji Spelling Bee

    The 🔤🐝 for people who can't 🔤.

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    Emoji spelling bees are being held around the world, with the inaugural one held November 2016 at Emojicon in San Francisco.


    The next one is being held at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival
    November 6, 2019 @ 7 p.m. at The Fringe

    Thanks to the support of the Consulate General of the United States.

    Buy tickets. 

  • Um, What's an Emoji Spelling Bee?

    How Does It Work?

    For an emoji spelling bee, you basically get a group of people together with a projector, mobile phones, creative prompts and hopefully some alcohol.


    You throw up creative prompts in English (or the language of your choice) and ask people to "spell" the phrase using emoji in a fixed amount of time (often a minute). Unlike professional spelling bees, where there is a "right answer," emoji spelling bee judging is subjective in nature, often based on parsimony, whimsy and accuracy.


    You can structure it as elimination or non-elimination as need be.



  • EMoji Spelling Bee Prizes

    These are the kinds of emoji-themed items we give away as prizes

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    Betabrand Emoji Poo Dress

    Smiling poo on a dress!

    An internet classic, the Poo-Emoji dress features a semi-fitted button-front top, elastic waist, and a slight A-line skirt that hits just above the knees.

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    Breaking Bad Emoji Mug

    From bbmugs.com

    The mug depicts the entire Breaking Bad pilot episode. You can view it like a puzzle, where you piece all the little clues together to assemble the full story.

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    Emoji Art by Yiying Lu

    Great Masterpieces Emojified

    Imaginative re-interpretations of masterpieces by Yiying Lu, first debuted at Emojicon in San Francisco.

  • The First emoji Spelling Bee  

    San Francisco November 2016 @ Emojicon

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    Photo Credit: Jennifer 8. Lee/Emojicon. Can be freely used in any context that discusses the Emoji Spelling Bee.


    The first Emoji Spelling Bee took place at Emojicon on November 5-6, 2016 in San Francisco.


    The first winner of the Emoji Spelling Bee was Sam Lemonick of Berkeley, California. He won a trip for two to Finland ✈️ 🇫🇮 courtesy of the Finnish government! Presenting his prize is Petra Theman, Finland’s director of public diplomacy who oversaw the launch of Finland’s official national emoji.

    The preliminary online competition attracted over 70 entrants (many of which got a Breaking Bad emoji mug for their participation). The second IRL round attracted 40 contestants.


    Prompts throughout the rounds included:

    • Cubs win! 
    • Bay to Breakers
    • On fleek
    • Moving to Canada
    • San Francisco
    • Finnish sauna

    Judging was based on parsimony, whimsy and accuracy. Our advice: Be short, be sweet, answer the question.


    You can see the answers for the live round here, and read more about the whole event in detail here.


    Judges included Petra Theman and Thuong Tan (Team Finland), Mercedes Kraus (Emojicon), Zoe Mendelson (Emojicon), and Neal Mueller (the emcee of the Emoji Spelling Bee).


    Special thanks to Finland's office of Public Diplomacy and Timberland, for providing great prizes.

  • Emoji Spelling Bee @ SXSW 

    Austin • 2017

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    Emoji Spelling Bee

    Anyone could enter

    The Emoji Spelling Bee @ SXSW took place at Highland Lounge n Austin n Sunday, March 13. About 40 people showed up to compete. Prizes included emoji movie posters, poo emoji clothing from Betabrand and Breaking Bad Emoji mugs

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    Current Events in Emoji

    We had a news and journalism themed prompt slate. They included

    • She persisted
    • Basket of deplorables
    • Alternative facts
    • War on the media

    Our judges were Gretchen McCulloch, linguist; Jane Solomon of Dictionary.com, and Erin McKean of Wordnik.


    Special thanks to Finland's office of Public Diplomacy for sponsoring the posters.

  • EMoji Spelling Bee DubLin

    March 29, 2017 • The Black Sheep • Dublin, Ireland

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    Europe’s premier foray into competitive emoji spelling saw 17 people from across the continent do battle within The Black Sheep ⚫🐑 bar on Capel Street in Dublin, Ireland. It was featured across a range of Irish TV 📺 and radio 📻 programmes to promote this event (such as here, here and here). Judges included Irish comedians Bláithín de Burca and Ruth Hunter.


    The winner was Sean Russ from Bad Nauheim, Germany 🇩🇪. He defeated Aisling Horan from Newport, Ireland 🇮🇪 2–0 in the finals to claim the title of Europe’s first Emoji Spelling Bee Champion 👑🥇🏆 and a prize of a €100 💯💶 One4All gift voucher. Quarterfinalists received a free burrito 🌯 voucher from Mexican restaurant chain Boojum and all semifinalists received a large emoji teddy featuring some somewhat creepy arms and legs. 👐👣😱


    You can read about it in more detail on Medium.


  • EMoji Spelling Bee @ Emojicon 2018

    July 20, 2018 • New York, NY

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    Our first New York City Emoji Spelling Bee was extensively covered in Slate and sponsored by Tinder and Timberland. Run by Zoë Mendolsohn, it was done on Twitter, which allowed our answers to be embedded in articles. And it also had a current events and political flavor. The final prompt was “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?

  • EMoji Spelling Bee Hong Kong

    November 6, 2019 • The Fringe Dairy • Hong Kong

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    Our first ever Asian spelling bee took place as part of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival in November 2019. The prizes came from the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong, and included puzzles, umbrellas, NASA-schwag, magnets and lots more. Judges included

    Ikko Yokoyama from mPlus museum in Hong Kong and two officials from the U.S. consulate general. We had about 30 participants and 3 kids.


    Given the protests that were ongoing in Hong Kong. The prompts were a mix of pop culture and political. they included


    Warm up: Bubble Tea, Mickey Mouse, Black Panther,
    Entertainment: Bruce Lee, Frozen, Game of Thrones, Handmaid's Tale, The Avengers, Harry Potter
    Hong Kong-specific ones: Rugby Sevens, Be Water, My Friend, Five Key Demands and Not One Less


    We also figured out a spiffy system using Airtable. You can see the results in an Airtable chart.

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  • Our Sponsors

    Sponsors for the Emoji Spelling Bee events that have taken place around the world.

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