generally meant to look like a face with a tongue hanging out. like other emoticons/smiley
s, it's frequently used in IM
posts text message
s, etc., especially by younger people. It usually signifies one of the following:
1. Somewhat sheepish (but good-humored) acknowledgment of (usually one's own) silliness, foolishness, absentmindedness, or ineptness. While often used to reflect one's own state, it is also used in reference to others or situations.
2. Mild disgust, in other words, a stand-in for "ew" "yuck". (More profound revulsion can be expressed with "XP
", which is similarly meant to depict a hanging tongue, but adds eyes squinted shut or nearly shut)
3. Tongue sticking out tauntingly. (Less common. As said earlier, :P is usually is interpreted as a tongue *hanging* out, not protruding straight forward)
This emoticon is a less literal depiction of expression than some other emoticons. For instance, someone who says in an IM
conversation "I totally flunk
ed the history test today :P" would not be likely to actually let his or her tongue actually loll out thus if the same conversation was held face-to-face. It probably has its roots in long standing cartoon
practice of showing stupid/knocked-out/dazed people with their tongues limply hanging out like a dog's tongue on a hot day.
The P is often capitalized, but not always. Additionally, there are variants forms like :-P
1. "I suck at football :P"
2. "Ugh, that fat, hairy, naked guy bicycled past my house again today. :P"
3. "I got the lead role in the play, so ha! :P"