Email, Messaging, & Video Calls Texting & Messaging How to Use Emoticons in Texts and Instant Messages Make your messages more meaningful with emoticons By Brandon De Hoyos Writer Brandon de Hoyos is former freelance contributor to Lifewire and a self-described IM veteran who covers the latest in messaging trends and videography. our editorial process LinkedIn Brandon De Hoyos Updated July 06, 2019 Dimitri Otis/ Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images Texting & Messaging Email Texting & Messaging Video Calls Tweet Share Email Emoticons and emojis add contextual nuance to texts and instant messages. For example, if you're trying to be sarcastic in a message, including a winking emoticon lets the reader know that you're not being serious. Information in this article applies broadly to text messaging services for all devices and platforms. What Are Emoticons? Emoticons are combinations of symbols, letters, and characters meant to convey specific emotions. A portmanteau of "emotion" and "icon," emoticons can provide context and clarity to messages that might otherwise be interpreted differently. Traditional Emoticons vs. Graphical Emojis Emoticons were originally all text-based, but many instant messaging clients, social media platforms, and SMS messaging apps today include a menu of graphical emoticons known as emojis that you can add to messages. Emojis allow users to express a broader range of emotions. How to Use Emoticons To create emoticons, locate the required symbols on your keyboard and type them in the appropriate order. Some messaging apps will automatically turn emoticons you type into animated emojis. If the message recipient's device does not support emojis, then they will see a blank space or a random jumble of characters in its place. List of Western-Style Emoticons Here's a list of the most commonly used emoticons and their meanings: Emoticons Meaning :) Happy :( Sad ;) Wink :/ Doubtful/unsure :P Sticking out tongue :O Shocked :| Expressionless :S Confused <3 Heart/love </3 Broken-hearted 8) Glasses :} Mustache xD Laughing hard xP Disgusted X( Pouting/frustrated :*( Crying :3 Cute/cat-like :-* Kiss on the cheek >:O Angry/screaming :X Lips sealed 0:) Angelic @)-v-- Rose O--- Lollipop List of Asian-Style Emoticons Here's an alternate list of emoticons more commonly used in some parts of the world: Emoticons Meaning (^_^) Happy (‘_^) Wink (>_<) Painful (<_>) Sad (-_-) Sigh (._.) Depressed (-_-) zzz Sleeping (-.o) Black eye (#_#) Beaten-up (x_x) Dead (@_@) Crazy/hypnotized (o_O) Confused ($_$) Cha-ching! ($_$) Star-struck (O-O) Glasses <(‘o’<) Ghost d^_^b Listening to music t(o_o)t Flipping the bird To use the ^ symbol (known as the circumflex accent, or caret) on a standard computer keyboard, press Shift + 6. More from Lifewire Do You Know How to Use Emoticons and Stickers in Facebook Comments? How to Use Emoticons in Your Email Messages in Outlook Mail and Hotmail Facebook Stickers in Messages and Chat How to Reply to Texts on Fitbit Versa and Versa 2 How to Use All the Skype Emoji, Even the Secret Ones Use Emoticons, Emojis, Stickers and Gifs in Facebook Messenger Finding Your iPhone's Secret Emoji Keyboard Everything You Need to Know About Facebook Chat All About Twitch Emotes and Which Ones Are Popular 10 Instant Messaging Apps You Should Have Use These Smileys to Add Fun and Emotion to Your Emails 10 Instant Message Tools That Once Dominated the Web Everything You Need to Know about Internet Slang: Acronyms, Phrases and Idioms Add Spice to macOs Emails With Emoji A Look Back on the History of Instant Messaging What Does 'TFW' Actually Stand For?