The 7 Most Popular Twitch Emotes of 2020

They're an essential part of streaming and gaming online communities

A teenage boy streaming a video game on Twitch.

 VOISIN/PHAN / passage

Twitch emotes are essentially special emoticons or emoji used to communicate support for a streamer or to convey a message or emotion associated with its image.

It's almost impossible to watch a Twitch stream without encountering a quirky emote or two. Whether you spot a few of them used in the middle of a conversation in a stream's chat or catch a random flurry of images flying across the stream itself in an animated explosion of color and excitement, emotes are almost as much a part of the Twitch experience as the video games and streamers themselves.

Here's everything you need to know about Twitch emotes, plus ten examples of the most popular ones currently being used by the community.

What Is Twitch?

Twitch is an incredibly popular video streaming platform that mostly focuses on video game broadcasts but also offers some live streams involving artwork creation, cooking, talk shows, and casual conversation.

Popular streamers are frequently upgraded to Twitch Affiliate or Twitch Partner status, which grants them new community and stream features. Viewers on Twitch can choose to support their favorite Twitch Affiliate or Partner by subscribing to their channel with a recurring monthly donation. Twitch subscriptions support the streamers financially, with many choosing to stream on Twitch fulltime once they get enough subscribers. As a reward for subscribing, people get priority access in channel competitions, personal in-stream alerts, and access to exclusive emotes they can use in Twitch chatrooms.

What Are Twitch Emotes?

Twitch emotes were first introduced to the Twitch streaming platform in 2015. There are literally thousands of them, with global emotes being available to everyone and others being exclusive to Twitch Affiliates and Partners subscribers.

Viewers who subscribe to a Twitch Affiliate or Partner gain access to that channel's emotes, which they can then use in any channel's chatroom in addition to the one associated with the Affiliate or Partner.

Emotes typically consist of unique artwork or a photograph that's been shrunk down to a size just a bit larger than a traditional emoji. Most emotes reference a niche in-joke or meme that's well-known to its creator's audience and no one else. Some become so popular their usage expands beyond Twitch to social networks such as Twitter or Instagram, where they're referenced by name and given extra meaning.

How Are Twitch Emotes Used?

Once someone gets access to an emote by becoming a subscriber to a Twitch Affiliate or Partner, it can be triggered in a Twitch chatroom by typing its name.

While viewers can only activate them in chatrooms, some streamers incorporate emotes into their stream's alerts so larger versions of them appear onscreen when they're used.

How Many Types of Twitch Emotes Are There?

There are four main categories of emotes on Twitch:

  • Robot Emotes: These are basic replacements for the traditional emoji for :), :(, :D, etc. They're available to everyone.
  • Global Emotes: These consist of faces or icons associated with Twitch staff members or popular Twitch streamers. They're triggered by typing their names, such as Kappa, DoritosChip, bleedPurple, etc. Anyone can use these.
  • Subscriber Emotes: These emotes are only available to Twitch Partner and Affiliate subscribers and usually feature photos of the associated streamer or artwork relating to their channel.
  • Turbo Emotes: Twitch Turbo is a monthly paid subscription service. Its users gain access to special emotes that are basically alternate styles for the traditional emoji. One set features purple Twitch speech bubbles while the other uses cartoon monkeys.

Examples of Twitch Emotes

Here are some common Twitch emotes and examples of how they're used.

Example #1

Image: Small photo of Josh DeSeno's face.

Activation: Kappa

Meaning: The Kappa Twitch emote is basically just a photo of Josh DeSeno, an original employee of Justin.TV, the company that eventually became Twitch. DeSeno was in charge of creating the chat experience on Justin.TV and thus he became associated with it.

The emote has since evolved to express an eye roll or a sarcastic "Well done!" or "lol" and has become so popular that gamers often say "Kappa" out loud when they do something embarrassing while playing. The emote's name comes from the Japanese mythical creature the kappa, though there's no connection beyond that.

Example #2

Image: A small image of a can of salt being poured into a pile.

Activation: PJSalt

Meaning: The PJSalt emote is a reference to the gamer slang for being a sore loser, "salty." It's frequently used as a way to troll a Twitch streamer in their chat after they lose a match while playing a game and are visibly frustrated or angry.

Example #3

Image: A small version of the yellow lightning bolt from the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers TV show.

Activation: MorphinTime

Meaning: Simply a fun reference to the Power Rangers TV series. Occasionally used in Twitch chatrooms to drum up excitement. Usually interpreted as the poster yelling out, "It's morphin' time!!"

The Most Popular Twitch Emotes of 2020

Now that you have an idea of what Twitch is and how emotes are used on the platform, here are some of the most popular ones you'll encounter there.

01
of 07

"PogChamp"

PogChamp Twitch Emote

 Twitch

 

The PogChamp emote is based on the professional Street Fighter player Gootecks. It's used as a quick and easy way to express excitement or hype while watching a Twitch stream.

02
of 07

"PJSalt"

PJSalt Twitch Emote

 TwitchEmotes.com

One of the most-used emotes on Twitch, the PJSalt emote is a great way to laugh at someone who's a sore loser or getting frustrated with a game.

03
of 07

"TriHard"

TriHard Twitch Emote

 Twitch

Based on popular streamer TriHex, the TriHard emote is frequently used in chatrooms when a viewer or streamer is simply trying way too hard to impress someone.

Some people occasionally use it to target black streamers on Twitch, but that's more of a recent usage by a minority and isn't what the emote stands for. 

04
of 07

"GayPride"

Twitch GayPride Emote

 TwitchEmotes.com

Twitch added several LGBTQ+ emotes in 2018 in an effort to encourage and inspire the diverse streamers on its platform. These are frequently used to support LGBTQ+ streamers or just to show some pride in the chat.

05
of 07

"BlessRNG"

BlessRNG Twitch Emote

 TwitchEmotes.com

This Twitch emote was created by streamer BlessRNG and it's frequently used as a humorous way to bless a channel or chatroom with the streamer's Jesus-esque hairstyle and pose.

06
of 07

"Kappa"

Kappa Twitch Emote

 Twitch

The classic Kappa emote is used to troll everyone on Twitch and has become part of gaming culture the world over.

07
of 07

"Hahaa"

Hahaa Twitch Emote

 Twitch

This image of Andy Samberg is now immortalized as the Hahaa emote. It's a way for Twitch users to express intense feelings of cringe during a stream.