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πŸ˜‚ face with tears of joy emoji

What does πŸ˜‚ mean?

Face with tears of joy is an emoji that represents someone laughing at something so hard that it makes them cry. It can be used as an emotional tone marker to express varying degrees of amusement in digital communication.

A few things to note…

While officially named face with tears of joy emoji, people commonly refer to it as the crying laughing, laugh cry, laughing tears, LOL, or simply the laughing emoji or face.

Face with tears of joy emoji enjoys extensive use across diverse digital contexts and populations online, so much so, in fact, that Oxford Dictionaries named face with tears of joy emoji its 2015 Word of the Year, the first-ever pictograph to win the prize. Citing the emoji’s sharp rise from the previous year, they chose face with tears of joy emoji in part “because it was the most used emoji globally in 2015.”

In a 2016 presentation, linguist Gretchen McCulloch further underscored the popularity of face with tears of joy, as used in the data of the mobile keyboard company Swiftkey. She reported that face with tears of joy emoji was the most used emoji on its own, in multiple-emoji sequences, and in combination with other emoji. “It’s clear we love to laugh and communicate laughter digitally!” McCulloch said.

Often behaving like LOL or haha, face with tears of joy emoji conveys varying degrees of amusement. Users frequently repeat the face with tears of joy in strings as an emotional intensifier. And the use of this emoji with tears, as opposed to other emoji depicting smiles, emphasizes, if not exaggerates, the intended sense of glee or delight.

As such embellishment suggests, face with tears of joy emoji does not necessarily mean that its users are literally laughing to the point of tears. Rather, the emoji can help mediate tone and relationships. Writing for Scientific American in 2016, Krystal D’Costa explained: “Much in the same way the Like button helped to confirm status and connections, the Tears of Joy emoji can be connective.” Face with tears of joy emoji, D’Costa continued, can show empathy, soften emotions, lighten remarks, and facilitate communication.

While face with tears of joy emoji generally has positive intent, it, like so much of language, has a darker side. Some use face with tears of joy emoji to mock or gloat over others’ misfortunes, as if laughing maniacally in their face.

For example…

“I guess I can’t contain my competitive spirit πŸ˜‚ - face with tears of joy emoji Anyway, it’ll be fun……”

Lou Musa, “Honored to be a part of the “Celebrity Special Olympics Basketball Game” tonight…….” Lou Musa (March 24, 2017)

“Everyone at my night job is short. So whenever we can't reach something it's just like, ‘Oh well.’ πŸ˜‚ - face with tears of joy emojiπŸ˜‚ - face with tears of joy emojiπŸ˜‚ - face with tears of joy emoji

Brittany Alexander @DiamondStudded Twitter (March 14, 2017)

πŸ˜‚ - face with tears of joy emojiπŸ˜‚ - face with tears of joy emojiπŸ˜‚ - face with tears of joy emojihow does it feel @maddow to know that you committed a felony tonight, and prooved [sic] @realDonaldTrump pays more tax% than @BernieSanders??πŸ˜‚ - face with tears of joy emojiπŸ˜‚ - face with tears of joy emoji

BIGGDADDYKH @KeithHewlett Twitter (March 14, 2017)

This is not a formal definition of πŸ˜‚ like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of πŸ˜‚ that will help you expand your word mastery.