What Does The Skull Emoji Mean and When Should You Use It?

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Velina Nenova
Written by
Velina Nenova

Updated · Aug 07, 2023

Velina Nenova
Social Media and Digital Marketing Expert | Joined March 2022 | LinkedIn
Velina Nenova

Velina describes herself as passionate media savvy and a versatile individual with numerous differen... | See full bio

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Girlie Defensor
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Emojis have become an integral part of the social media experience, allowing people to express themselves in ways that are often difficult to convey with words.

One such symbolic emoji is this skull 💀 emoji. This symbol has captured the imagination of millions of internet users, especially Gen Zs.

You may wonder what the skull emoji means and when to use it. You may also be curious whether the skull and crossbones emoji ☠️ convey the same meaning.

To avoid being caught off guard by using the wrong emoji, this article provides a guide on how and when to use the skull emoji. Let’s start. 

Key Takeaways


The skull emoji is used in digital communication and can mean different things. It has become trendy among Gen Z.


The primary meaning of the skull emoji is to express laughter, usually indicating something is extremely funny. It is used as an exaggerated response to show that one is laughing so hard that they feel like dying.


The skull emoji also conveys annoyance, frustration, admiration, tiredness, and many more. It adds a touch of humor, irony, or exaggeration to express emotions or situations lightheartedly.

Skull Emoji Meaning and How To Use It

For centuries, a skull image has been used to symbolize death, sadness, warning, and danger. Since it became an emoji, the skull started to be seen differently. 

In 2015, a skull emoji was added to Emoji 1.0 after being approved for Unicode 6.0 in 2010. The skull emoji is a whitish-gray human skull with large black eye sockets designed in a cartoon style. 

Since then, the skull emoji has become a common part of online communications, whether to represent morbid topics, jokes or add humor. For Gen Z, the meaning of the skull (💀) emoji is reacting to something funny, annoying, or admirable. 

🎉 Fun Fact:

The top ten emojis that young people say only "old people” use are 👍❤️👌✔️💩😭🙈👏💋😬.

Here are some ways to use the skull emoji: 


Using the skull emoji implies that the laughter is so intense that it’s metaphorically “killing” the person with laughter. It adds a touch of exaggeration and playfulness to the expression.

Here’s how you can use the skull emoji to express laughter: 


Lol is an initial for laughing out loud and was once a popular element of internet slang. You can use it to express a hilarious laugh at something people find funny. 

Over time, people have added skull emojis to intensify or express loud laughter instead of typing lol. 

Here are some examples of using the skull emoji instead of lol or as an addition to it:

  • That’s the funniest thing I’ve seen! 💀💀💀
  • So epic! Lol! 💀
  • What an ending! 💀💀

Died Laughing

Here are a few examples of when to use it to enhance the metaphor of “dying of laughter”: 

  • That joke was absolutely hilarious! 💀💀
  • The meme made my day! 💀💀😂
  • I just watched the video you sent. I can’t get enough of it! 💀💀💀


The skull emoji is commonly used to show laughter, but you can also add it to show annoyance or frustration.

This alternative interpretation of the skull emoji adds a touch of irony and sarcasm to the conversation. It allows you to express your displeasure in a lighthearted and playful manner. 

The skull emoji adds a touch of annoyance and irony to convey a lighthearted sense of irritation in the following situations:

Express Irritation

Using the skull emoji to express irritation provides a way to convey a strong negative sentiment without relying solely on written words.

Using it to express irritation adds a touch of humor or exaggeration to your frustration. Here are some examples of this:

  • I’d been waiting for you for over an hour. I can’t believe you made me wait for that long. 💀
  • I’ve been put on hold with customer support for 30 minutes. What a waste of time. 💀

Express Exasperation 

When faced with exasperating situations, the skull emoji can serve as a playful expression of annoyance.

Here are a few examples of using the skull emoji to express exasperation:

  • I just missed my flight by a second. What a day! 💀💀
  • What a disaster! 💀

Respond Sarcastically

The skull emoji can also be used to emphasize a sense of frustration or disbelief.

Its connection to laughter emphasizes the irony by implying that the situation is so strange or unexpected that it makes people laugh. Here are some examples:

  • I just received another parking ticket! What a fantastic way to start the week! 💀💀
  • My flight got delayed, and I’ll be stuck at the airport for hours. 💀

Convey Displeasure 

When you would like to convey displeasure, you can use the skull emoji. Add the skull emoji to express annoyance over small inconveniences or daily frustrations.

Consider these instances:

  • I forgot my umbrella, and now it’s pouring outside. Brilliant! 💀
  • Our wifi has been slow all week. Such a good service! 💀💀


You might be surprised to learn that the skull emoji can be used to convey admiration.  It’s similar to saying that you find something so admirable that looking at it makes you feel dead. 

Here are some situations where you can add the skull emoji as an expression of admiration: 

Celebrating Extraordinary Achievements

In certain contexts, you can add the skull emoji to express awe and reverence for someone who has achieved something exceptional.

Here are a few ways to use the skull emoji:

  •  She just completed her Ph.D. while working two jobs and caring for her family! 💀💀💀
  • Guess what? I just finished my first-ever marathon! 💀💀

Appreciating Beauty

The skull emoji has found particular relevance in appreciating beauty or aesthetics in a person or thing.

Here are a few examples of adding the skull emoji in this context:

  • You look so gorgeous! 💀💀
  • I’m completely caught off guard. You are so hot! 💀
  • So adorable! 💀💀💀

👍 Helpful Article: 

Techjury has other related emoji articles that can help you understand how to use emojis in the digital world properly. Read our article on What Does the Upside Down Emoji Mean? All You Need to Know

Dead Tiredness

Another use of the skull emoji is to express tiredness or exhaustion. When people use this to express tiredness, they employ it as a visual representation of feeling completely drained or depleted. 

The skull emoji is used to go beyond a simple text description. It adds a visual element to the message, enhancing its impact and conveying a sense of weariness. 

Here's how to use it to express dead tiredness:

  • I worked two shifts today and am totally drained. 💀💀. I need a good sleep.
  • Traveling for 20 hours straight and dealing with delays at every step.

Gonna Die Moments

The skull emoji is also used when someone is in so-called "hot water" situations.

It can mean that the person expects a negative response from someone else or that they are in a challenging situation.

Some examples could be:

  • I used my mom's car and scratched it. 💀 She's going to kill me when she sees it.
  • Exams week is here, and I have five exams in three days. 💀 I feel like I'm already halfway to the grave!

💀(skull) vs ☠️(skull and crossbones): What’s the Difference?

It is crucial not to interchange these two, for they have different meanings. The skull and crossbones emoji ☠️ conveys a warning.

The simple skull emoji 💀, on the other hand, mostly makes fun of death or makes a funny reference to it. 

The ☠️ (skull and crossbones) is often used to give a warning. It is mainly associated with danger, death, angst, fear, and poison.

It represents a classic symbol of mortality, often used in contexts related to pirates, warnings, or Halloween themes.

The crossbones are typically depicted beneath the skull, emphasizing their association with danger or toxic substances.

When and How to Use this ☠️ Emoji

  • This emoji is a good fit if you attempt to convey danger in a situation or conversation.
  • You can also use it to show deadly angst or a deadly sense of fear. 
  • In a Halloween setting, this is also appropriate.
  • Use this emoji to indicate that some individuals have dug their graves due to stupidity.
  • You can also use this emoji when talking about horror stories. 

Other Names for this ☠️ Emoji  

The skull and crossbones emoji can also mean danger. Here are some other names for ☠️:

  • ☠️ Danger
  • ☠️ Dangerous
  • ☠️ Dead
  • ☠️ Death
  • ☠️ Graveyard
  • ☠️ Tombstone
  • ☠️ Fear
  • ☠️ Hazardous
  • ☠️ Spooky
  • ☠️ Halloween
  • ☠️ Horror

Skull Emoji Design Across Platforms and Devices 

All the skull emoji designs come as human skulls, but on some platforms, they have many teeth, and on others, they don’t.

Here’s how the skull emoji appears on different platforms and devices: 


Simple Skull

Skull with Crossbones


Apple Apple


Samsung Samsung


Microsoft Microsoft


WhatsApp WhatsApp


Twitter  Twitter 


Facebook  Facebook 


Skype Skype


Messenger  Messenger 









Wrapping Up

The skull emoji 💀 has multiple meanings and usage in various contexts. It adds depth and expression to digital communication.

It gives people a creative way to add emphasis, humor, or a touch of darkness to their messages when they want to. 

It conveys anything from awe to morbid humor. By understanding the skull emoji correctly, one can use its expressive power to improve communication and be more creative.


What does a skull and crossbones mean on a black flag? 🏴‍☠️

The skull and crossbones emoji on a black flag is often associated with pirate ships. It is also called Jolly Roger.

What does this combination 😂 💀 mean?

This combination means that something is so funny that the person who sent it died from laughing so hard. 

What does this 😭 emoji mean?

A crying face emoji could represent inconsolable grief. It can also mean other intense emotions, such as uncontrollable laughter, pride, or overwhelming joy.

What does 🗿 mean in texting?

It represents a deadpan expression. It symbolizes a dry tone of voice and annoyance.


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