Often I find people in the chat using emoticons. Most are simple to decipher, but I can't figure out what these two mean.




What do they mean?

  • 1
    I never use smileys, but I always interpret the first one as buttface. So don't listen to me. Nov 21, 2011 at 3:54
  • 1
    This doesn't relate to English IMO.
    – user11550
    Nov 21, 2011 at 5:48
  • 2
    @Mahnax It's not specific to English (theoretically), but it's a major factor in a lot of communications using the English language.
    – John
    Nov 21, 2011 at 5:53
  • 1
    I see no difference between asking about how to use this and asking about how to use some other aspect of English communication properly.
    – John
    Nov 21, 2011 at 5:59

2 Answers 2


As with most smileys, but especially with these unclear ones, how they are being used by any given person might vary. However, this is my experience with them...

:3 is an animal face, especially a cat. It either means "cute" or "mischievous." As in "I'm too cute to be mad at, right?"

:S means "worried". The mouth is all contorted as if in pain. As in, "this topic makes me upset."

  • :S means "strange". But even in 2020 AFAICS there is no Unicode equivalent. :/ means "worried" and there is the equivalent '😕'.
    – Jake
    Dec 28, 2020 at 2:10

:3, as suggested by Jeremy, is a cutesy animal face.

:S, however in my experience, is a confused smile, as you see in MSN messenger.

  • 7
    :S in my experience is supposed to be like Charlie Brown's face when the mouth is just a squiggly line. It can mean confusion, embarrassment, or being at a loss for words, or some combination of them.
    – kitukwfyer
    Nov 21, 2011 at 4:35

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