The Unicode Consortium has finalized Unicode 14.0, adding a total of 838 new characters to the standard, which dictates how text and other written characters are handled in most of the world’s software. Most notably for everyday users, Unicode 14.0 includes 37 new emoji characters, including multiple hand gestures and additions like “melting face,” “biting lip,” “troll,” “beans,” “pouring liquid,” “pregnant man,” and “pregnant person.”
The “pregnant man” and “pregnant person” emoji are important for inclusivity and representation, since some transgender and non-binary people can be pregnant. The “other keywords” for both emoji suggest possible alternate uses like “bloated” and “full.” But the emoji names for both characters were specifically changed from “man/person with swollen belly” to “pregnant man/person” back in February in order to be consistent with the name and intended usage of the extant “pregnant woman” emoji.
The finalized list of emoji is the same as the draft version that circulated a few months ago. That list removed a few candidates that could reappear in a future version of the Unicode spec, including “vulture,” “crow,” “raised little finger,” “cooking pot,” “chainsaw,” and “submarine.” The Unicode Consortium is working to limit the number of new emoji added in each new version of the standard to stay “focused on what is useful” and reduce the amount of work that OS and app developers need to do to support new emoji every year.
New emoji are the most relevant addition of any Unicode update for most people, but as usual, Unicode 14 adds support for a wide range of languages, characters, and scripts, including “support for modern language groups in Bosnia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Java, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, and the Philippines, plus other languages in Africa and North America.”
Most operating systems and apps usually add support for new emoji and Unicode updates a few months after the standards are finalized, so you won’t see these on your phone or PC for at least a few months.