Emoji dictionary


or heart symbol or less than three [hahrt sim-buh l] or [les th uhthree]

What does <3 mean?

<3 is a typographical representation of a heart, used to convey love and similar warm feelings online and often evoking early internet culture.

Related words

💔 Broken Heart emoji, 💖 Sparkling Heart emoji, 💕 Two Hearts emoji, 💓 Beating Heart emoji, ❤️ Red Heart emoji, 😍 Smiling Face With Heart-Shaped Eyes emoji, black heart

Where does <3 come from?

Examples of <3

We <3 this colorful and modern Texas wedding!
@theknot, January 2016
Find you someone who looks at you the way Jonah Hill looks at Emma Stone! <33333
@emmabung, January 2017
Pouting in anime. "Oh, so cute (^-^)<3!" Pouting in real life. "What the fuck are you doing mate cut that shit out."
@InvertMouse, January 2016

Who uses <3?

Since the 2010s, as noted, emoji have become so widespread that many are more likely to type a heart-based emoji than its predecessor <3 (or ♡).

<3 and heart emoji can be used to express love or affection for a person or fondness for some event or content. Like the heart symbol, <3 can stand for the word love or heart, e.g., I <3 New York.

<3 still maintains currency and popularity, however, especially on a computer keyboards, as typing <3 can be faster than retrieving an emoji.

Many people intentionally use <3 to call to mind the earlier days of the internet or demonstrate familiarity with its culture. Often appearing in the phrase i <3 u, the <3 can convey a cute, more innocent, or more earnest tone than various heart emoji.

In colloquial speech and occasionally in writing, <3 is pronounced or represented as less than three. For instance, someone might type less than three if fawning over a picture of an adorable dog. In so doing, users again conjure up the internet of the 1980–90s and signal an “in-the-know, old school” credibility with the conventions and slang of the era.

To add extra emphasis to the <3 emoticon, users tend to add extra 3’s instead of typing the entire emoticon, e.g., <33333 instead of <3<3<3<3<3.

<3 is sometimes incorporated into kaomoji, a popular Japanese style of emoticons.

Just Added

Black Music Appreciation Month, Older Americans Month, Mental Health Awareness Month, Jewish American Heritage Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month


This is not meant to be a formal definition of <3 like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of <3 that will help our users expand their word mastery.