Text emoticon styles explained

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Text emoticons (or ASCII emoticons) were first made popular in the 80s when they started to be used in online bulletin boards. The creator of the original ASCII emoticon :-) and :-( was Scott Fahlman. Originally Scott suggested that the :-) symbol be used to suggest a humorous comment and the :-( symbol be used to highlight comments that aren't jokes.

 

Below are examples of many of the most popular western text emoticons used:

:-) Happy and smiling
:-( Frown or sad
:)) Big smile
:'( Crying
|-O Yawning or snoring
:D Laughter
:-D Laughing at you
;-) Wink, often used to express sarcasm
B-) Smile from person wearing sunglasses
:-> Biting sarcasm
8-) Goofy smile or someone wearing glasses
:-p Sticking out tongue
:-* Kiss
:-x Lips are sealed
:-o Shocked or surprised, Uh oh!
:-O Very shocked or yelling
:-& Tongue tied, don't know what to say
:-x Speechless
:-$ Confused emoticon

 

Stiff neck? That's right - these emoticons require you to tilt your head or turn your screen vertically. The Japanese have got it sorted. They created kaomoji, which can be read from left to right:

d^_^b Listening to music
(`_^) Wink
(<_>) Sad
(^_^) Smiley
(^o^) Singing or laughing
(;_;) Crying
(@_@) Confused

 

To learn more about kaomoji, click here.

Text emoticon websites

We didn't want to copy them all out here so we thought we'd find some links instead to the best sites to find text smiley faces.

Although this glossary isn't the most extensive list, it's useful because the expressions are ordered alphabetically.

If you want a humungous list of all the text emoticons then Helwig's Smiley Dictionary is a good place to start.

Wikipedia also has a list of common ACSCII smiley faces in a variety of styles.

If you want to see the Official Smiley Dictionary you can go take a look but if you're looking for an emoticon list you might not find it. We couldn't. Wikipedia is much more useful.