Smileys represent the human face and all its possible expressions that correspond to our various moods. They have been around for decades, but the internet brought them real fame.
Online, smileys are a powerful way to transport emotions. The typographic smileys are generally known as emoticons. Placed with care and read with an eye for detail, they clarify the meaning of a statement and improve interpretation.
Meanwhile, chatters across the globe have developed a huge selection of emoticons and smileys on most instant messengers. If you always want to hit the right nerve and never pick the wrong expression, use our emoticon guide to popular codes for smiley faces.
Western list of emoticons
Western emoticons are typically written from left to right. Here are 15 of the most popular ones.
: – D expresses great happiness or a victory.
: – ( or :-c represents sadness or disappointment. The latter can also mean great sadness.
; – ) or ,-) or *-) indicates a joke or double entendre in what was said.
: – P or : – p or :-b is an emoticon to tease, often used as a joke.
6. Open mouth
:-O or : – () stands for surprise or shock.
7. Distorted mouth
: – / means skepticism, being annoyed or uneasy.
8. Beaked lips
:-X or :-* or :-<> expresses a kiss, love and affection. But careful, this one can be ambiguous.
:-@ or : – ) ~~ ( – : or : – )~~~~ stand for french kissing.
9. Sealed lips
:-X or :-# stands for embarrassment. Notice the ambiguity.
0:-) represents an angel or innocence and is often used in a playful manner.
:’-( shows a crying face and expresses sadness.
>:-) or >:-D is used to express evil.
: – | expresses boredom, but can also stand for no comment.
:-p~~ represents drooling.
>.> or <.< or >_> or <_< points the way in which to look. Technically, this is an eastern emoticon.
In contrast to western codes for smiley faces, eastern emoticons can be read without tilting the head. Here is a selection, which does not correspond to the previous one.
1. Smile for happiness
(^_^) or (^.^)
2. Open mouth for laughing or singing
3. Wink for joking
(`_^) or (^_~)
4. Closed eyes for sadness or sighing
5. Lowered head for bitterness or disappointment
(._.) or (,_,)
6. Sweat drop for nervousness or embarrassment
7. Big eyes for wonder (seriously?)
8. Beaked lips for a kiss
(^x^) or (^3^)
9. Blushing for embarrassment
^///^ or >///< or o///o
10. Crossed out eyes for death
11. Tears for sadness and crying
(;_;) or (T_T)
12. Distorted eyes for pain, failure or frustration
(>_<) or (>.<)
13. Closed eyes and zzZ for sleeping
(-_-)zzZ or -_-zzZ
14. Headphones for listening to music
d^_^b or d-_-b
15. Distorted eyes for annoyance
There are many, many more emoticons to express every shade of emotion you can think of. You will find more western emoticons here and here. The latter also includes emoticons that represent celebrities and a list of available MSN and Yahoo! smileys. More eastern emoticons can be found here.
By the way, most chat clients automatically convert codes for text smiley faces to graphics. If you want to prevent this, there is a simple trick: simply type the characters in reverse order, for example (-: instead of : – ).
Do you use emoticons and did you come across different meanings of the ones mentioned above? Please share potential ambiguities with us