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[ih-moh-ti-kon] /ɪˈmoʊ tɪˌkɒn/
Computers. a digital icon or a sequence of keyboard symbols that serves to represent a facial expression, as :‐) for a smiling face. Emoticons are used in a digital message or text to convey the writer’s emotions or clarify intent.
Compare smiley, emoji.
Origin of emoticon
1980-85; blend of emotion and icon Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for emoticons
  • Ubiquitous emoticons aside, faces are also essential to the expression and registering of human feelings.
  • Top surfers have tattoos, nicknames that ape those of hip-hop stars and probably use lots of emoticons when emailing.
  • The main search screen is reasonably clean, though the emoticons in the date bits are arguably a bit too cutesy.
  • Likewise, including smileys and emoticons did little to change the shape of the world's moods.
  • Enhance your collaboration by including rich text, emoticons, and screen snapshots.
  • The full list of emoticons can be seen in the posting form.
  • Take care with the use of abbreviations and use of emoticons.
  • There is no dignity in that eulogy consisting mostly of sad-faced emoticons studded with apostrophe tears.
British Dictionary definitions for emoticons


any of several combinations of symbols used in electronic mail and text messaging to indicate the state of mind of the writer, such as :-) to express happiness
Word Origin
C20: from emot(ion) + icon
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for emoticons



by 1994, apparently from emotion + icon.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for emoticons

English 2


A spin imparted to a billiard ball, tennis ball, etc, to make it curve

[1860s+; fr French angle, ''angled'' similar to Anglais,''English'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Difficulty index for emoticon

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