emo·​ti·​con i-ˈmō-ti-ˌkän How to pronounce emoticon (audio)
plural emoticons
: a group of keyboard characters (such as :-)) that typically represents a facial expression or suggests an attitude or emotion and that is used especially in computerized communications (such as email) compare emoji

Examples of emoticon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web When reached for comment by Fortune about his exclusion from Reddit’s S-1 filing, Ohanian replied with a shrug emoticon: ¯_(ツ)_/¯. Reddit declined to comment. Paolo Confino, Fortune, 23 Feb. 2024 The humble emoji—and its older cousin, the emoticon—has infiltrated the corporate world, especially in tech. Lora Kelley, The Atlantic, 30 Dec. 2023 Ellison replied with a sad-face emoticon, which seemed to have understated her emotional volatility. Gideon Lewis-Kraus, The New Yorker, 3 Nov. 2023 The new designs feature the band's iconic tongue emoticon and black and red colorways. People Staff, Peoplemag, 26 June 2023 On November 20, Hsu posted a very suggestive photo of herself with Liu with only a smiley face emoticon in the caption. Aimée Lutkin, ELLE, 1 June 2023 Decades of texting have seen emoticons made from colon and parenthesis replaced by more obvious and emotive emojis. Cody Godwin, USA TODAY, 18 Feb. 2023 On June 23, 2004, AVEN adopted cake as an official community emoticon. Courtney Lane, Bon Appétit, 22 June 2022 The outline of an emoticon. cleveland, 21 Nov. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'emoticon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


emotion + icon

First Known Use

1987, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of emoticon was in 1987

Dictionary Entries Near emoticon

Cite this Entry

“Emoticon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emoticon. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


emo·​ti·​con i-ˈmō-ti-ˌkän How to pronounce emoticon (audio)
: a group of characters (as :-) for a smile) that suggests an attitude or facial expression

More from Merriam-Webster on emoticon

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