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.

Nearby words

  1. emollient,
  2. emolument,
  3. emory,
  4. emory oak,
  5. emote,
  6. emotion,
  7. emotional,
  8. emotional correctness,
  9. emotional deprivation,
  10. emotional disorder

Compare smiley, emoji.

Origin of emoticon

1980–85; blend of emotion and icon

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for emoticons

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 for emoticon

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

Word Origin and History for emoticons



by 1994, apparently from emotion + icon.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper