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Definition of Emoticon

Babylon English Dictionary

(Internet) type of icon in the shape of a face that show emotions and expressions like a human face (such as a smiley face)
Emoticon Definition from Language, Idioms & Slang Dictionaries & Glossaries
hEnglish - advanced version

emoticon
/ee-moh'ti-kon/ an ascii glyph used to indicate an emotional state in electronic mail or news. although originally intended mostly as jokes, emoticons (or some other explicit humour indication) are virtually required under certain circumstances in high-volume text-only communication forums such as usenet; the lack of verbal and visual cues can otherwise cause what were intended to be humorous, sarcastic, ironic, or otherwise non-100%-serious comments to be badly misinterpreted (not always even by newbies), resulting in arguments and flame wars.

Australian Slang
representation of a facial expression made with the characters of a qwerty keyboard, for example (viewed sideways) :-) happy, :-( sad, ;-) a wink (from "emot(ion)" + "icon")
WordNet 2.0

Noun
1. a representation of a facial expression (as a smile or frown) created by typing a sequence of characters in sending email; ":-( and :-) are emoticons"
(hypernym) facial expression, facial gesture
(hyponym) smiley
Emoticon Definition from Business & Finance Dictionaries & Glossaries
Internet PR glossary
A grouping of characters used to represent emotion in electronic messages, e.g., :-) for a smile, :-( for a frown, %^P for someone who needs professional counseling.
Emoticon Definition from Social Science Dictionaries & Glossaries
Phobia
Fear of symbolism
Emoticon Definition from Computer & Internet Dictionaries & Glossaries
Website design & Internet terms
Little symbols assembled by using the computer keypad to represent faces, the smiley and all its variants. Used in chatgroups.
Jargon File
/ee-moh'ti-kon/ n. [common] An ASCII glyph used to indicate an emotional state in email or news. Although originally intended mostly as jokes, emoticons (or some other explicit humor indication) are virtually required under certain circumstances in high-volume text-only communication forums such as Usenet; the lack of verbal and visual cues can otherwise cause what were intended to be humorous, sarcastic, ironic, or otherwise non-100%-serious comments to be badly misinterpreted (not always even by newbies), resulting in arguments and flame wars.

Hundreds of emoticons have been proposed, but only a few are in common use. These include:

:-)
`smiley face' (for humor, laughter, friendliness,occasionally sarcasm)
:-(
`frowney face' (for sadness, anger, or upset)
;-)
`half-smiley' (ha ha only serious);also known as `semi-smiley' or `winkey face'.
:-/
`wry face'

(These may become more comprehensible if you tilt your head sideways, to the left.)

The first two listed are by far the most frequently encountered. Hyphenless forms of them are common on CompuServe, GEnie, and BIX; see also bixie. On Usenet, `smiley' is often used as a generic term synonymous with emoticon, as well as specifically for the happy-face emoticon.

It appears that the emoticon was invented by one Scott Fahlman on the CMU bboard systems sometime between early 1981 and mid-1982. He later wrote: "I wish I had saved the original post, or at least recorded the date for posterity, but I had no idea that I was starting something that would soon pollute all the world's communication channels." [GLS confirms that he remembers this original posting].

Note for the newbie: Overuse of the smiley is a mark of loserhood! More than one per paragraph is a fairly sure sign that you've gone over the line.

WebGuest Web Glossary
Name for those little sideways smiling (and not-smiling!) faces in email messages and other postings. Also known as "smiley". For example: "just kidding" represented by ;-)
"I'm sad" represented by :-(
If you don't get it, turn your head sideways and look again ;-)
Internet Glossary
"Art" form composed of punctuation. Sometimes used in E-mail or usenet news postings to reduce ambiguity or to entertain. Examples include the plain smiley, ":-)", the winking smiley, ";-)", etc. See also Smiley
Glossary of Computer and Internet Terms
These are the little text-based faces and objects you often see in e-mail and online chat. They help give the reader a sense of the writer's feelings and what they mean in their writing. For example, the classic =) shows that the writer is happy about something or that he is has taken a message in good humor. The =P is used to show frustration, a feeling of irony, or in can be used to say "Whatever..." A @-->-->--- is supposed to be a long-stemmed rose, which you can use to show affection -- pretty lame if you ask me. For a list of more emoticons as well as some Internet acronyms, check out this page.
Emoticon Definition from Encyclopedia Dictionaries & Glossaries
Wikipedia English - The Free Encyclopedia
An emoticon is a metacommunicative pictorial representation of a facial expression which in the absence of body language and prosody serves to draw a receiver's attention to the tenor or temper of a sender's nominal verbal communication, changing and improving its interpretation. It expresses—usually by means of punctuation marks—a person's feelings or mood and can include numbers and letters, as well. In the most recent years, as the epidemic of social media and texting is at an all time high, emoticons have played a significant role in communication through technology. These emoticons offer another range of "tone" and feeling through texting that portrays specific emotions through facial gestures while in the midst of cyber communication.

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