What Does :( Mean?

:( is an emoticon that means sad or disappointed.
image for sad face, showing emoticon without hyphen

In texting, the emoticon :( is used to represent sadness, disappointment, or any general feeling of being upset. It's a visual representation of a sad face, where the colon represents the eyes and the open parenthesis represents a downturned mouth. This emoticon was very commonly used in digital communication to convey emotions that might not have been clearly expressed through text alone.

image for :), showing emoji

Emoticons like :( have been largely supplemented by more sophisticated emojis (in this case the disappointed face emoji), which are graphical symbols that accomplish the same purpose, but can be more nuanced and varied. However, due to its simplicity and near-universal recognition, the classic :( still enjoys widespread use.

image for sad face, showing emoticon with hyphen

:( signifies the same as the version with a hyphen ":-(". In fact, the hyphenated version is a bit older and was more commonly used in the early days of the internet and SMS text messaging. Over time, as the need for brevity increased and, as emojis began to take over, the simpler :( became more popular. Both versions are understood to signify the same emotions and are generally interchangeable.

There are many other emoticons used to represent sadness or disappointment. To see more, check out the "see also" links below.

Image for :(

When I write :(, I mean this:

meaning of :(

:( is an emoticon that represents a sad or disappointed face.

Summary of Key Points

"Sad" is the most common definition for :( on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Guessability:guessability level 1
1: Easy to guess
Typical Users:typical user

Adults, Teenagers, and Under 13s

Example of :( Used in a Text

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