2016 Emoji Spelling Bee

Sam Lemonick (middle) is the winner of the first Emoji Spelling Bee, a freelance science writer from Berkeley. On his right and left are Petra Theman from Finnish government and me, Neal Mueller, creator of Emoji Spelling Bee.

An emoji spelling bee is a competition to translate phrases into emoji, like “Cubs win” into 🐻🐻🏆 or “Brass monkey, that funky monkey” into 🎺🐒 🎷🐒.

Today, we’re excited to announce the winners from the first Emoji Spelling Bee, hosted at Emojicon 2016.

Over 70 people entered the preliminary online part of the bee, then 40 people show up on the second day to compete for prizes including a trip to Finland vacation for two, and Timberland gift cards.

1st place: Sam Lemonick
2nd place: Sueli Shaw

Congrats winners!

Here are all the answers from Emojicon Spelling Bee, and below are the best answers.

Best answers from preliminary rounds:

San Francisco

Silicon Valley

Game of Thrones

Breaking Bad

Finnish Sauna

Best answers from final rounds:

Bay to Breakers
Description: Bay to Breakers is an annual footrace in San Francisco from the bay side of SF to the ocean break side. It’s famous for the costumes

Cubs win!
Description: The Chicago Cubs are an American professional baseball team based in Chicago. They won the World Series of baseball this year after a 108 drought.

Bye Felicia
Description: Meme you say when someone says they’re leaving and don’t really care, from the 1995 movie Friday

Grab them by the p***y
Description: Vulgar quote said by Donald Trump

Don’t feed the trolls
Description: Warning given to participants in online forums who don’t know that the most effective way to discourage a troll is usually to ignore it

On fleek
Description: Slang for “on point”, a portmanteau of fly and sleek

I’m moving to Canada
Description: Meme said by Americans when they’ve had it with USA

Finland has more saunas per capita than any country in the world


Judging was based on parsimony, whimsy and accuracy. Be short, be sweet, answer the question. We gave contestants 3 minutes per question.

Thanks to:


Contact Neal Mueller (LinkedIn, website, spellingbee@emojicon.co) if you have questions or would like to run an Emoji Spelling Bee of your own!