Smiley FAQ :-P - NetLingo The Internet Dictionary: Online Dictionary of Computer and Internet Terms, Acronyms, Text Messaging, Smileys ;-)

Smiley FAQ

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The Smiley:   A Breakthrough In Global Communications


Because you can't see the person who is sending you electronic mail you are sometimes uncertain whether they are serious or just joking with you. About 14 years ago, Scott Fahlman, of Carnegie Mellon University, devised a scheme for encoding and conveying one's feelings as small text "glyphs" to overcome this frustration.

Look up at that strange thingie under the title of this page. Tilt your head to the left to look at the arrangement of 3 commonly-used characters.

Don't they look like a smiling face? Thus, if someone sends you a message that says, "Have you stopped cheating on your wife? :-) " you know they're just joking. If somebody says "I need to talk to you :-( " be prepared to have a problem shared with you.

The two original glyphs by Scott Fahlman were :-) and :-( These quickly became known as the "smileys," or "smilies," and somewhat to Scott's chagrin, emoticons. Since Scott posted his first smiley proposal, many other smileys have been devised by many others. Some smileys have shorter faces, as in the case of :( and :)

The use of smileys caught on so quickly and spread throughout the world of online communications with such universal acceptance that only the original :-) and :-( have a pedigree.

At this point, we would like to say "Thank you" to Scott Fahlman. Without his cooperation, this would be just another glyph list.

(-: SMILEYS :-)

His Unofficial Guide to Smileys

This is a collection of the variations and mutations of the smiley which I have collected during my many years of using electronic bulletin boards and, of course, the Internet. This page is also a "jumpstation" which gives you the chance to enjoy an ecclectic link through the World Wide Web to at least one other Internet resource for each of the smileys!

The most commonly seen smileys ...

The following examples should help you get your feet wet! At this time, I am only showing examples that can be made by using the ASCII characters common to US-style keyboards. I will happily expand these pages using the ISO-Latin-1 Character Set if I receive some good examples of non-US smileys. ;-)

Your basic smiley.
This smiley is used to inflect a sarcastic or joking statement since we can't hear voice inflections through text. Or, it just might represent how the sender is feeling (happy).

Your basic southpaw smiley.
Many of the examples in this UNofficial FAQ can be modified to express that the user is left-handed. Some of them, however, cannot be so adapted because of the limitations of keyboards.

The "Winkie" or "Winkey."
This smiley can mean many things, so the context in which it is used is important for its interpretation. Its user may havejust made a flirtatious or sarcastic remark. This can be a type of a "don't hit me for what I just said" smiley. It is often used to show remonstration without malice toward the recipient.

The left-handed "Winkie."

The Frowning smiley. (Now that's an oxymoron!)
The user is disappointed or did not like that last statement and is now expressing a pout; or, s/he is anxious, depressed or otherwise upset about something.

"I'm really sad."

Watch out for this smiley!
Angrily frowning, this one really means trouble!

"I'm indifferent about that" smiley.
Better than a pout but not quite as good as a basic smiley.

The user just made a really biting, sarcastic remark - one which might require more than a mere :-) to help the recipient recover.

Devilish remark smiley.

Devilish Winky smiley.
"The Devil made me do it!" - Flip Wilson

Granny Smiley ... I wonder if there's any apple pie in the refrig?

Variations ... Mutations ... &c

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery ... And Scott's smiley has certainly been imitated, cloned, mutated, and even abused by others who have adopted his idea for emoting in their statements in e-mail, submissions to mailing lists, news articles on Usenet, on pages on the Web, when using text-based "talkers" (talk, IRC, MOOs and MUDs), and when posting messages to BBS message subs. Smileys can be found in printed media - books, and articles in newpapers and magazines - even when the subject is not about the Internet!

Now, you might know of some more abusive smileys that do not appear here. Cool. But please do not submit them to me because I just do not care for them and I use my delete key quite freely ;-)

Dazed and Confused

This user has been staring at his monitor too long.


Punk rocker smileys.

Real punk rockers don't smile.
(Mr. T from The "A-Team?")

This one's been in a fight.

This one's unconscious.

Undecided smileys.
Also used to depict skepticism.

This one's been flamed.

Tongue-tied ... or at least has a definite slur in its speech.

Confused, or incoherent.

This one's a deadhead.

The dunce.
Someone thinks you aren't "playing with a full deck" if they send this one to you.

Someone's saying they think you're braindead with this smiley.

Now, "You're being called a hosehead."


Right before your very eyes ...

Wearing sunglasses.

Sunglasses on forehead.

Reading glasses on forehead.

Wears horn-rimmed glasses.

Scuba diver smiley.

Snorkeling smiley(or, Megaton Man on Patrol!)


: *>
Kitty cat

Nice doggie.


Bulldog smiley.

"I am the Walrus ..." koo-KOO-ka-CHOO!

Magilla Gorilla smiley.
Use this one when you've just made a monkey out of yourself.

... if it looks like a duck ...

... unless you think it looks like a cat instead.

The Monster Mash


Vampyre smiley.
Click here for 101 vampyre Web sites.

Vampyre with a really nasty overbite.

Vampyre with a broken fang; or, a buck-toothed vampyre who sneezed and bit itself!

Robot smiley.

Mutant smiley.


Formal wear.

Baseball fan.

Wearing a bicycle helmet.

Chef, or baker.

A barbershop quartet.

"Honest Abe" smiley: Abraham Lincoln.

Uncle Sam.

An Inquisitor; a medieval monk.

Papal smiley.

Theologian (priest).

Santa Claus

Sultan of Smiley;
Alladin; or, a real swami.

Sugar & Spice & Everything nice ...

Little Orphan Annie smiley; a target="_top">little girl.

:-)   8
Ahem ... Big girl smiley ... perhaps inspired by a famous "girl" from the silver screen?
O :-)
The angelic smiley.

In your face smileys ...

My lips are sealed.

"Psst! Hey! Over here."

Harmonica player.


Snoring ... sound card required.


Doctor Watson smileys.
Smileys sporting bushy moustaches.

King Farouk ... van Dyke beard smiley ...

Burt Reynolds.
Smiley wearing a rug.

Same as above ... in an updraft

Jimmy Durante smiley

Pinocchio smiley.
Having a long nose; or, lying. Also a smiley with nose broken to the left.

Smiley with nose broken to the right.

Tongue-in-cheek ...

Has foot-in-mouth disease.

Smiley a bad cold.

A case of acne.

Wears braces.

Pucker up!

Shaved off one eyebrow off this morning.

Same as above other side.

Mr. Spock .

A few more emotives ...

In love.


Ivy League school smiley.
Condescending. Curiously enough, also called the Easter Island smiley.

Laughing aloud (at you!); or, talks too much.

Crying ... sadly.

Crying ... happily.


:-Ptttthhhhhhp! "Bronx cheer" smileys.
Someone's giving you "the raspberry."



Ooh! That's sour!

Uh oh!

"Oh, no! It's Mr. Bill!"

"Omigawd!" ... (Right after doing rm -rf *)

Who cares?

Bad Habits & Misbehavin'

Chews tobacco (don't follow behind this one too closely!)

Cigarette dangling from mouth.

Pipe smoker smiley.

"Pro Junior" smiley.
Fans of 60's and 70's underground comix can appreciate this one.

Smileys with their snoots full - Don't let them drive!

Bubba smileys with their snoots full.

Hungover smileys. (Ssshhh! Please don't shout.)

Miscellaneous ... the bit bucket

No Yelling! ("Quiet!")

Easter Bunny.

Marvin the Martian" ... from Bugs Bunny cartoons.

Amateur radio (ham) operator.

Wears a Walkman.

Egghead ... similar to indifferent.

Siamese twins .

Dwarf , or midget .

Plays Nuclear War .


Alfred Hitchcock.

Charlie Chaplin.

van Gogh.

Pablo Picasso ...

8 :-I
Your local Unix wizard.

Mega-smiley: A drunk, devilish chef with a toupee in an updraft, a mustache, and a double chin!

The cold smiley, with a toboggon on for winter.

Smileys Are For Kids , Too!

Many of smiley patterns are used without noses (hyphens) to make kid-sized smileys:

Basic happy smileys.

The gleeb (or "gleep") ... a friendly little smiley who will gladly be your buddy.


A real bummer.

This smiley was called on in the classroom and doesn't know the answer.

Busted again! Could also be used to show a milky moustache.


Little Pavarotti; shouting smiley.

This one's having its temperature taken; home sick from school.

This one's crying. (sniff!)

Sound asleep.

These are also Smileys, but they are also glyphs that convey messages.

Message to/about someone wearing argyle socks.

. . . - - - . . .
SOS (International distress signal in Morse Code)

You can just guess what this means.

Message concerns rubber chickens. ???

A fishy message!
... could also be religious. (slow loading)

Offering a handshake; "Hello."

Handshake accepted.

This message is of interest to women.

A large open red rose

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