Pinched nerve

Israelis can finally use an emoji to tell each other to pipe down

‘Pinched fingers’ is one of 117 new symbols approved by Unicode Consortium for inclusion this year in our digital communication

The "pinched fingers" emoji, as shared on social media by Emojipedia, January 29, 2020. (Twitter screen capture)
The "pinched fingers" emoji, as shared on social media by Emojipedia, January 29, 2020. (Twitter screen capture)

Israelis will finally be able to text each other to “wait a minute,” “quiet down,” and “listen for a second” without resorting to the Stone Age method of actually having to type those words.

Among the 117 new emojis approved this month by the Unicode Consortium, the California-based group that sets the standard for encoding characters — including emojis — across languages and computer systems, is an outstretched upturned hand whose fingers are touching.

Officially called the “pinched fingers” emoji, the new symbol is listed under the keywords “interrogation” and “sarcastic,” apparently confirming the claim by Emojipedia, a website that knows about such things, that the symbol is “commonly referred to simply as ‘Italian Hand Gesture.'”

Will this bitter truth — the knowledge that the symbol stands for the sarcastic Italian gesture rather than the equally but nevertheless differently rude Israeli version — diminish Israelis’ excitement?

Only time will tell.

There are more serious additions among the 117 new emojis, many having to do with changing assumptions about gender.

For example, there are now men wearing wedding dresses with veils, women wearing tuxedos, a gender-neutral Santa Claus and a transgender flag. These are added to the 138 gender-neutral emojis included in last year’s haul of new symbols.

And there’s more, lots more — like a toothbrush, lungs, a ninja, both a man and a woman feeding a bottle to a baby, a bison, a seal, a beetle, a fondue over a flame, a plunger, a saw, a beach sandal, bubble tea, a straw hut, a military helmet, an accordion, a boomerang, a screwdriver, an elevator, a window, a mousetrap, a headstone and a protester’s placard.

Don’t say the Unicode Consortium isn’t looking out for your diverse emoji needs.

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