a type of guitar-based music developed from emocore but having a softer, pop or mainstream sound.
a fan of emo, especially a person who is overly sensitive and full of angst or adopts a certain style characterized by dyed black hair, tight t-shirts and jeans, etc.


noting or pertaining to this type of rock music: emo albums of the late 1990s.
of or relating to a fan of emo or to the lifestyle, dress, etc., typical of such a person: emo teens; emo fashion.

Origin of emo

First recorded in 1985-90; shortening of emocore
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for emo

Contemporary Examples of emo

Historical Examples of emo

  • The garrison fought bravely: Emo, their commander, with a handful of men resisted to the last.

  • Emo non quod opus est, sed quod necesse est; quod non opus est, asse carum est.

  • Emo humbled the Bey of Tunis, cleared the seas, and died at Malta in 1792.

  • I fancy that this chief is the fellow whom you heard of, Ralph, at the Island of Emo.

    The Coral Island

    R. M. Ballantyne

British Dictionary definitions for emo



  1. a type of music combining traditional hard rock with personal and emotional lyrics
  2. (as modifier)emo bands

Word Origin for emo

C20: short for emotional rock
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