Definition of emoticon in English:



  • A representation of a facial expression such as a smile or frown, formed by various combinations of keyboard characters and used to convey the writer's feelings or intended tone.

    ‘flag your jokes with emoticons, such as a smiley face :-), to avoid misunderstandings’
    • ‘Take into consideration who you are communicating with to determine the acronyms and emoticons that should be used - if at all.’
    • ‘But it's hard to roll your eyes online, and I detest emoticons.’
    • ‘This is generally agreed to be the first example of what are now called emoticons, or smileys, the little sets of symbols that are used as markers in email messages.’
    • ‘The idea is that a recipient of the emoticon can sense the actual meaning of the message that has been sent from their friend or partner.’
    • ‘Texting uses a reduced form of the English language with symbols - or emoticons - expressing emotions such as happiness or sadness.’
    • ‘On my cell phone I can receive text messages, and I can choose to use emoticons (iconic characters and messages) on the Internet.’
    • ‘It is important when you e-mail, that you use emoticons to relay the tone of your e-mail.’
    • ‘If you think about it, the range of human emotions is wide and varied, and also, there can be cultural nuances, or racial nuances to these human emotions and so its not surprising that you might not find an emoticon to convey what you want.’
    • ‘Facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice are all cues missing in e-mail (and smiley-face emoticons can do only so much to replace them).’
    • ‘We are heading towards a new future where emoticons are integral in communication.’
    • ‘She may freely use emoticons in e-mail correspondence, but on the chessboard she is nothing short of macho.’
    • ‘If your heart is really broken, you're gonna use an emoticon to convey that feeling?’
    • ‘I thought the whole point of an emoticon was to convey an emotion or facial expression.’


1990s: blend of emotion and icon.