What Does :') Mean?

The Quick Answer

:') means "Crying with Joy" or "Sad Smile."

More Detail...

The :') emoticon usually indicates that the sender found something so funny it brought tears to their eyes (i.e., they were crying with joy. However, it may also be used to express a sad smile. As (almost) always, context is crucial!

In the emoticon :') the colon represents the eyes, the apostrophe represents a tear, and the close-bracket represents a smiling mouth. Similar symbols to the :') emoticon include: For a full list of icons, check out our icons page.

Image for :')

When I write :'), I mean this:

:') icon

The :') emoticon may also indicate a sad smile.

Summary of Key Points

First Definition of :')

"Crying with Joy" is the most common definition for the :') emoticon in texting and messaging apps like Instagram and TikTok.
Definition:Crying with Joy
Guessability:guessability level 1
1: Easy to guess
Typical Users:typical user

Adults, Teenagers, and Under 13s

Second Definition of :')

"Sad Smile" is another definition for the :') emoticon.
Definition:Sad Smile
Guessability:guessability level 2

2: Quite easy to guess

Typical Users:typical user

Adults, Teenagers, and Under 13s

Examples of the :') icon in Sentences

Here are examples of :') in conversations:
  • John: My wife said to me: "Sex is better on holiday." I must admit, that wasn't a very nice postcard to receive.
  • Tony: :').
  • (Here, :') is being used to indicate tears of joy.)
  • Julie: Standing in the park, I was wondering why a frisbee gets larger the closer it gets. Then it hit me.
  • Terri: :').
  • (Here, :') is being used to indicate tears of joy too.)
  • Jo: Charlie told me this morning that you are her favorite aunt and she wants to go with you when you move to New York.
  • Toni: :').
  • (Here, :') is being used to indicate a sad smile.)

An Academic Look at :')

The symbol :') is classified as an emoticon because it is a pictorial representation.

What Did We Say before Texting and Social Media?

Before the digital era, we might have said something like "That's hilarious," "I am crying with laughter," or "That's so sweet" instead of using the :') emoticon.

Example of :') Used in a Text

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