Emoticons and the art of expressing emotions in HTML


Today most people are familiar with the smiley, and it is widely (ab)used in texts, both on the net and in printed media. In ancient times, before we had all the graphic options, we were limited to the ASCII tables, so you had to be a bit creative, which is why ☺ turned to :) or :-), commonly known as emoticons. Over the years, this has evolved into a number of signs, e.g.:

Emoticon Explanation
Smiley or happy face
Smiley or happy face with glasses
:o)Happy clown
Tears of happiness

There is a vast number of emoticons, and as can seen, several variations of the same emoticon. Also there are a vast number of regional differences, e.g. ^_^ which originally was the Eastern version of the smiley. In the international community of the Internet, these have been mixed across borders and cultures.

Because there are so many versions, the use of emoticons can cause quite a few misunderstandings.


In the same manner as you can show a smiling face, someone obviously also figured out how to moon the reader. It looks like this:

Ass icon Explanation
)*(an asshole
(_!_)a regular ass
(__!__)a fat ass
(!)a tight ass
(_._)a flat ass
(_*_)a sore ass loser
(_o_)an ass that's been around
(_O_)an ass that's been around even more
(_?_)a dumb ass
(_o^^o_)a wise ass
(_e=mC2_)a smart ass
(_13_)an unlucky ass
( Y )a butt
(_$_)money coming out of his/her ass
(_#_)taking an ass pounding
(_x_)kiss my ass


One of the ways of conveying emotions mostly seen in forums and chats are notations. This could be the explicit description between two stars e.g. *roll eyes* or *jumping up and down with joy*, where you can see what the person is doing.

One of the more nerdy notations, mostly seen in IT proficient communities, are tags where the notation from HTML tags is used in a modified version, e.g. the ironic <irony>a candidate for the Nobel Prize</irony> or when bitching about something <rant>I think it sucks that...</rant>.

For this there is a large number of abbreviations, made popular especially by the use of SMS/texting, e.g.:

Abbreviation Explanation
LMAOLaughing my ass off
ROTFLMAORolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off
XOXOHugs and Kisses

Like the emoticons there is a vast number of these abbreviations, and variations over them, and they can cause misunderstandings due to cultural differences.