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A smiley-face emoticon
Example of emoticon used on road sign in Katowice, Poland
Emoticons printed in 1881 from U.S magazine Puck

An emoticon ({{#invoke:IPAc-en|main}}), etymologically a portmanteau of emotion and icon, is a metacommunicative pictorial representation of a facial expression that, in the absence of body language and prosody, serves to draw a receiver's attention to the tenor or temper of a sender's nominal non-verbal communication, changing and improving its interpretation. It expresses — usually by means of punctuation marks (though it can include numbers and letters) — a person's feelings or mood, though as emoticons have become more popular, some devices have provided stylized pictures that do not use punctuation.

In Western countries, emoticons are usually written at a right angle to the direction of the text. Users from Japan popularized a kind of emoticons called kaomoji (顔文字, often confused with emoji in the West) that can be understood without tilting one's head to the left. This style arose on ASCII NET of Japan in 1986.<ref name="autogenerated1">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref name="whatjapanthinks2007">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

As social media has become widespread, emoticons have played a significant role in communication through technology. They offer another range of "tone" and feeling through texting that portrays specific emotions through facial gestures while in the midst of text-based cyber communication.

Emoticon sections
Intro  Origin of the term  History  Western style  Graphical emoticons  Japanese style  Korean style  Chinese ideographic style  Posture emoticons  Multimedia variations  Emoticons and intellectual property rights  Unicode  See also  References  Further reading  

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