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Emoticons and Smileys - Their Functions and Meanings

Published Saturday, May 06, 2006

We all communicate with people that we come in contact both directly and indirectly each day. Such persons may be family members, co workers, store clerks, business partners, and other such persons just to name a few. When you are having a face to face conversation with someone you can easily see their facial expression and is able to tell if that person is bored, happy, sad, smiling, angry and so forth. Likewise, having a conversation on the phone we also can, to an extent, tell if that person is bored, excited, happy, sad, smiling, angry etc. just by listening to the tone of his/her voice. However, communicating through the internet is much different and more difficult to detect the mood of someone. Sometimes we may be able to detect a persons mood by the person’s tone of writing or if the person outright expresses this; similar to what you might be able to do in mails (letters) and books. However, there is the potential for one to misunderstand a person’s thoughts or the message that he or she might be trying to convey to the reader/s. This problem is made possible due to the fact that there are no facial expressions, body language or any tone of voice that can help to interpret a person’s thought or mood. Not to mention if the sender intended to be humorous, sarcastic or ironic. This makes a considerable difference in the way in which that message is conveyed and understood. Most chatrooms, newsgroups, blogs, forums, emails, instant messengers e.g. MSN Messenger, YIM, AIM, ICQ and many others, all use the written word which, can so easily be misunderstood by the receiver.

As a result of this problem, a shorthand method of expressing one' s moods emerged on the internet. This helps the receiver (s) to get a much better understanding of the message that the sender is conveying while also helping the sender save much time and difficulty expressing his/her self thus making it much easier. This shorthand method of expressing ones mood uses standard keyboard symbols as emotional symbols (facial pictures) thus the name "smileys”. The arrangement of these keyboard characters that are intended to convey an emotion, are usually viewed sideways. This means, in order for you to read some of these characters, you will have to tilt your head or rotate the emotional symbols 90 degree clockwise, in your head. Most smilies will look like a face (eyes, nose, and mouth).

Interestingly, the modern version of smileys which is now popular on the internet is what we most simply call today as emoticons (emotional icons). These are in a sense, smileys in graphics or graphical emotion symbols. These serve the same purpose as text based characters (smileys) and are just graphical representation of feelings. In other words, replacing them with some colorful images, or even animations (some are also able to produce sounds). One advantage of graphical emotion icons (graphical smileys) is that they are more easy to decipher, because of the graphic face that humans can read or interpret more readily from our daily interaction with people that we see or meet from our day to day activities. The untrained eye often finds these more easy to understand, when the sender express his/herself feelings, whether it was intended to indicate pleasure, approval, or humor in the form of an image. Interestingly it may not be a surprise to you to know that smileys (text based) can sometimes in a message confuse the receiver (reader) in terms of what mood you they are trying to convey! Thus, graphical smileys (emoticons) are very widely used. Emoticons today are very popular and are used in e-mails, chatrooms and Web forum posts just to name a few. There are also special programs that have been developed that can easily be downloaded to your computer as well as others that can easily be inserted into emails and browsers. There also email services offering these fancy emoticons in emails.

Please note that smileys and emoticons are created by internet users to save keystrokes and to add emotions to their message. Thus, these are informal internet expressions that are not considered appropriate for formal occasions. The following examples listed below are by no means a comprehensive list but should however provide you with adequate knowledge for you to start deciphering and conversing in this popular smiley language on your phone (text messaging) and the internet such as in emails, chatroom, message board post (web forums) and instant messaging. Included also are emoticons (graphical smileys) which definitely don’t need any deciphering : )


:] or :-] or :) or :-) Smile, happy, humour, joke, laughter, friendliness, occasionally sarcasm

;-) Smile with a wink

:<}) User with mustache, smiling :-|| Mad :( or :-( Unhappy, sad, anger, or upset :' -( Crying :~ Also crying :-)) Really happy :/ or :\ or :-/ or :-\ Undicided, confused, or skeptical :Q or :-Q Confusion :S or :-S Incoherence or loss of words :@ or :-@ Shock or screaming :O or :-O Surprise, yelling or realization of an error ("uh oh!") >:) Malicious contentment

>:( Strong anger or discontent

>:D Malicious joy

-0_o- Confusion, shock, drunkenness or a "high" state

0.o Confusion or shock, signifying the user saying "WHAT!?!?"; also maean a drunken or high state

�_� Confusion, shock, drunkenness or a "high" state

9_9 "rolling eyes",express annoyance

:D or :-D Big grin

:-* A kiss

:-P~ A lick

:-o Wow! or I'm surprised

:-| Grim

:-P Sticking out your tongue

:- User happens to be Popeye

:-/ Perplexed

=:O Frightened (hair standing on end)

=8O Bug-eyed with fright

:-} Embarassed smile

:-)<>>>>> Basic Smiley with a necktie

;-^) Tongue in cheek

%*@:-( Hung over

:-~~~ Drooling

>:) Perplexed look

.) Keeping an eye out for you

8:-) Glasses on forehead

8:[ Normal smiling face of a gorilla

0:-) Angel

]:-|[ Robot

(:V) Duck

3:-o Cow

:-] Vampire

(_8-(|) Homer Simpson

C|:-= Charlie Chaplin

=|:-)= Abe Lincoln

*<:-) Santa Claus -:-) User sports a mohawk and admires Mr. T (:)-) Scuba diver :-'| User has a cold :-{} User with heavy lipstick :-)8 User is well dressed >:-< eyes ="_=" characters ="="> Excuse me

^^; Cold sweat

^o^ Happy

*^o^* Exciting

(^_^)/ Banzai smiley

( ; _ ; ) crying

m( _ _ )m Apologies/thank you

(>_<) Angry (+_+) Shocked/disappointed (@_@) ill/hangover

To see some example of emoticons (graphical smileys) click the links below. This is done in order for the site to load much faster.

Click To Enlarge Image


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At 6:53 PM, Blogger Amstaffie said...
At 12:34 AM, Blogger R. Edmondson said...
At 10:13 PM, Anonymous ASL.BG Management said...
At 7:29 PM, Anonymous Annabella Noxious said...
At 5:46 AM, Anonymous Prasad Bhagwat said...
At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Smiley Toolbar said...
At 2:20 AM, Anonymous Web Design Company said...
At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...
At 5:50 PM, Anonymous Cannon 10755GF said...
At 7:33 PM, Anonymous Suuuee said...
At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Wolfie said...
At 2:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...
At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to print these out! Didn't realize there were so many!

You would be suprise to know that those listed there are just some of them. I couldn't bother to list them all :)

:~)~)~)~) ;~) :o)

No shit.

So Nice of you.
You made people easy to understand the meaning of smileys which they receive.

Prasad Bhagwat

I am using a toolbar for smileys. It allows me to create and place Smileys on MSN, AIM, Yahoo, email and Social Networking Sites. I have found it here Smiley Toolbar This Toolbar Just Works Great for me.

Nice information, many thanks to the author. It is incomprehensible to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again and good luck! Web Design Company

Whats the meaning of this one *.*

Thanks you. Very good post.Unless they can offer a really compelling reason for users to come back, it will be the next Bebo, MySpace

what does this symbol mean??? -_-

What does this one mean? uvu
Like, it's an emoticon and what not, but what is its purpose? Please tell me!

what does 3 star means ***

I want to post smilys on posts of update status ,massanger n watsapp

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