Because it is hard to convey emotions in e-mails and on the net and therefore its easy to misinterpret the writers intention (eg are they joking or serious about a comment)  - emoticons (emotional icons often called smiley's) - typed expressions of emotion have come into wide use.

They are made from keystrokes and usually produce a facial expression sideways. Below are some of the more commonly used emoticons and an explanation.

    :-) Your basic smiley. This smiley is used to inflect a sarcastic or joking statement since we can't hear voice inflection over the net. (tilt your head to the left if you cannot see the smiley)     ;-) Winky smiley. User just made a flirtatious and/or sarcastic remark. More of a "don't hit me for what I just said" smiley.
    :-( Frowning smiley. User did not like that last statement or is upset or depressed about something.     :-I Indifferent smiley. Better than a Frowning smilie but not quite as good as a happy smiley
    :-> User just made a really biting sarcastic remark. Worse than a :-)     >:-> User just made a really devilish remark.
    >;-> Winky and devil combined. A very lewd remark
was just made.


Here are some less common ones:


User is left handed


User has been staring at a screen for 15 hours straight


User is drunk


User is a robot


User is wearing sunglasses


Sunglasses on head


User wears normal glasses


User wears horn-rimmed glasses


User has a moustache


User wears lipstick


User wears a toupee


Toupee in an updraft


User is a Vampire


Bucktoothed vampire


Bucktoothed vampire with one tooth missing


User just made a wry statement


User just ate something sour


User drools


User has a cold


User is crying


User is so happy, s/he is crying


User is screaming


User wears braces


User has a broken nose


User has a broken nose, but it's the other way


User's nose is sliding off of his face


User is from an Ivy League School


User is tongue tied.


User is a hosehead


User is a punk rocker


(real punk rockers don't smile)


User has two noses


User is the Pope or holds some other religious office


User shaved one of his eyebrows off this morning


Same thing...other side


User is asleep


User is yawning/snoring


User is a smoker


User smokes a pipe

O :-)

User is an angel (at heart, at least)


Megaton Man On Patrol! (or else, user is a scuba diver)


Nyahhhh! or Sticking out your tongue


User just made an incoherent statement


User is laughing (at you!)


User is skeptical


User is a chef


User is pro-nuclear war


User is wearing a Santa Claus Hat


Uh oh!


It's Mr. Bill!


And Bozo the Clown!


Pet smiley


Mean Pet smiley


Your pet beaver is wearing goggles and a hard hat.


User is a Ham radio operator


User is brain-dead


User is wearing a Walkman


User is an egghead


User is a dunce


User is a little kid with a propeller beanie


User is wearing a turban


No Yelling! (Quiet Lab)


Mutant Smiley   The invisible smiley


User only has one eye


The user only has one eye...but he's winking


User just died

8 :-)

User is a wizard


Mega-Smiley... A drunk, devilish chef with a toupee in an updraft, a mustache, and a double chin    


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