Emoticons are textual representations of a facial expression. They are often used to alert the recipient of a message to the tone, bodily gestures, or sentiments behind statements.
The word "emoticon" is a combination of two English words: emotion/emote + icon.
Emoticons have become an integral part of online communication, an Internet vernacular of people chatting or communicating in instant messengers, web forums, social networking sites, emails, and online games. Often, these Internet communication venues are programmed to replace text emoticons with corresponding graphic images automatically. These graphic images (smileys) have evolved to be called emoticons as well.
Emoticons are used to:
Prevent misinterpretation of intentions that may arise in the absence of facial expressions that face-to-face interactions offer.
Represent an emotional reaction to a statement or event. For instance, instead of typing in "That's funny!", people may instead use the emoticon for laughing face, which is:-D.
Most Commonly Used Emoticons
Smiley emoticon is the most used emoticon. It is represented by two textual symbols: colon (for eyes) and a left parenthesis (for smile). The smiley face is depicted as:). Sometimes, a dash between the colon (eyes) and parenthesis (smile) is sometimes also used. The smiley emoticon is used to express joking, happiness, or lightheartedness.