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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. 2016.
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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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