emoticon

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emoticon (contraction of emotion + icon) A combination of punctuation marks, and sometimes other characters, first used in electronic mail and intended to convey the mood of the writer; emoticons are also called smileys, regardless of mood. E-mail messages are largely restricted to the ASCII character set, which precludes the use of text attributes such as bold, italic, or underline but does have a full set of punctuation marks. These are typically used to make faces sideways on the line (see table).

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EMOTICON. [A blend of emotion and icon]. In COMPUTING, a small composite symbol, not unlike an ICON, formed from punctuation symbols and used by the sender of an E-MAIL message to indicate mood and attitude. The best-known emoticon is the smiley :-), indicating that whatever has been typed is a joke or well intended; others are :-( for ‘sad’ and ;-) for ‘winking’. The term smiley is often used for all emoticons, even if they are not at all like smiling.

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emoticon a representation of a facial expression such as a smile or frown, formed by various combinations of keyboard characters and used in electronic communications to convey the writer's feelings or intended tone. The word is recorded from the 1990s, and is a blend of emotion and icon.

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