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What are Emoticons?
The word Emoticon is a combination or blend of the words Emotion and Icon, its pronounced as Emoti-con (/imotikon/). The terms Smileys and Smilies are also used to refer to Emoticons, but we'll get to that a little bit later.
Emoticons are emotional icons or graphics: a visual way to express your emotions, attitude, how you feel and what you want to say. They're extremely helpful in situations where words just simply aren't enough. In a way, emoticons are an online substitute for real-life properties such as the expression on your face or the tone of your voice, they help you to clearly set the context of your messages.
Today, Emoticons are all over the Internet: blogs, forums, Instant Messaging, email and even on mobile phones and similar devices. Smileys add a human touch to the the otherwise cold and inhuman nature of Internet communication. Emoticons can dance, laugh, cry and giggle their way into your chats, a smiley can sometimes convey much more than words alone... send them a smiley and leave the rest to their imagination!
The Emoticon or Smiley has been around for over 25 years and is officially recognized by most dictionaries today. Want to learn more about the history of emoticons? We've prepared a little history lesson for you on the emoticon history page.
Emoticons or Smileys?
Although somewhat synonymous, there is a slight different between these two terms.
- Can be used to refer to any icon that has meaning, like our text and lol emoticons
- Should generally be reserved for yellow faces (even if they're not smiling).
In reality, the words 'Smileys' and 'Emoticons' are used interchangeably and practically mean the same thing. This can be a little confusing, specially since they're even sometimes referred to as smilies!
Static vs Animated Emoticons
There are generally two flavors of emoticons, the static (not animated) icons and the newer and more stylish animated emoticons. We've got both types of icons on the website.
When MSN Messenger 6 was launched in mid-2003, it introduced custom emoticons as one of it's revolutionary new features. It allowed users to add their own emoticons and use them in conversations. These emoticons were limited to a maximum size of 19x19 pixels and could not be animated, but still allowed for some very interesting emoticons to be created.
With the arrival of MSN Messenger 7 in late 2004, Winks were introduced and the emoticon limitations were increased to 50x50 pixels and allowed animations, certainly a big improvement! Emoticon designs could now include much more detail thanks to the increased size and animation capabilities.
Emoticons in Messenger
Although Messenger provides some 80 built-in Emoticons, not every single emotion (like love, sadness) can be conveyed using the default MSN and Live Messenger smileys. For this reason, Messenger allows you to add your own custom emoticons, so that you can use any smiley or emoticon that you wish - and we've got tons of free emoticons!
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To find a list of the best emoticons on the website, please visit the top emoticons page.
The latest addition to the website is a set of rude smileys who love to flip the bird and piss you off! We highly recommend that you check out these bad boys. We have recently added some cool Weed bong smileys, so go check them out as well.