An emoticon is a typed series of characters that resembles a facial expression and expresses some emotion. You might use an emoticon in an email, a text message, or in an explanation of the word emoticon :) .

Most emoticons are flipped on their side, like the classic smiley face emoticon, which looks like this: :-) or like this: :) and expresses happiness or playfulness. If you want to send a subtle message like "Just kidding," or "Ha ha," you might use a winking emoticon like this one: ;). Emoticons help lend a specific tone or mood to a message. The word emoticon, a combination of emotion and icon, first appeared in 1994.

Definitions of emoticon

n a representation of a facial expression (as a smile or frown) created by typing a sequence of characters in sending email

“:-( and :-) are emoticons
an emoticon of a smiling face
Type of:
facial expression, facial gesture
a gesture executed with the facial muscles

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.