I looked at the other definitions, and there seems to few people on here that actually know what they're talking about. So I thought I'd add mine, with a bit of history and background information...

1976 saw the birth of punk, bringing with it many sub-genres, sub-sub-genres, and sub-sub-sub-sub-genres. In the early 80s, punk had branched off into several different styles, and ways of taking the genre. In 1981 there was a large amount of "hardcore" bands emerging from the D.C. scene. One of these bands were called "Minor Threat", who had a very vibrant, and melodic sound.

Nearing the end of 1983, the band "Minor Threat" broke up, after the band seemed to "run out of steam", and their last 7" single "Salad Days" in 1984 finally killed the band, and the DC hardcore scene.

After that new bands emerged, taking the genre their own way. 1984 showed the release of "Zen Arcade", an album by minneapolis band "Husker Du". This interpretation showed much more powerful, intense vocals with slow, melancholy and more melodic song writing.

In Spring 1984, D.C. Hardcore band "Rites of Spring" emerged, taking inspiration from the earlier hardcore scene. The band brought a totally new vocal approach to Husker Du's original style.

Summer 1985 became known as the "revolution summer" when a whole wave of hardcore bands emerged from the D.C. scene such as Gray Matter, Soulside, Ignition and Dag Nasty. Few bands retained the original fast paced, hardcore style proposed by "Rites of Spring" and "Husker Du" but took a much more droney, melodic approach to the genre.

These bands were then labelled the "D.C. Sound" or "D.C. Hardcore", and some of them were labelled "emo".

It was never suggested by Rites Of Spring that the term "emo" was short for anything. Although it has been proposed that emo was short for "emotive hardcore" or "emotionally charged hardcore punk" in a 1985 flipside interview with the band they claimed they were "not a punk rock band" and it was never mentioned in the text that they were "emotional" or "emotive" although the term "emo" was used several times.

Again, people took the genre several ways. Some people took an "Indie-rock" approach to the genre, while others retained a "post hardcore" style.

Many emo bands were poorly paid, underground, and rarely heard of, and few records were ever released around the genre. Which is probably why today it is so easily mistaken and misunderstood.

The "D.C. hardcore scene" grew, and with it, a stereotype fashion. People with a "Mop-top" haircut, skinny t-shirts and old trainers became a classic "D.C. hardcore scene" cliche. However, not all of these were "emo fans" nor were they in any way "emo's". It is suggested that this idea was taken, and progressed through the nineties to a much more "geeky" look nowadays.

However, emo is a genre of music, argue all you like, your still wrong. Saying "I am an emo" is like saying "I am a jazz", which is not possible. Emo has been heavily marketed by magazines (Kerrang etc.) and a totally wrong idea of the genre is now being spread across youths.

The early 90s saw a last breath for emo, with a much more softer, "Indie-rock" take on the genre. After that, the rest is history. It's a shame the genre was dragged through the gutter like that.
Emo - Rites Of Spring, Dag Nasty, SDRE, Drive Like Jehu, Fugazi...

What? - GUYS IN GIRL PANTS R HOT!!!11

Anything to do with 14 year old girls instantly becomes void of the possibility of it having anything to do with emo.
by Jorj May 25, 2006

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Your favorite word on a white mug.

Create a mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Buy the t-shirt

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Buy the t-shirt
Something all stereotypes agree on they hate.
Metalheads, preps, jocks, punk rockers and goths all put aside their differences and agree on one thing: they hate emos.
by andrea- July 04, 2006

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Your favorite word on a white mug.

Create a mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Buy the t-shirt

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Buy the t-shirt
the type of music you listen to when, try as you might, you cannot get laid..and cry about it..
man, ive been listening to a lotta emo lately
by peter December 08, 2002

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Your favorite word on a white mug.

Create a mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Buy the t-shirt

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Buy the t-shirt
The other definitions of emo are all made by wankers.

I'm tired of seeing entries either saying all emos are self harming and self obsessed bastards or that they're perfectly normal and all a bunch of fucking lovable people.

Fact is, they're just like every other sorry-ass clique; some of them are cool and some of them suck more dick than a gay pedophile in a preschool bathroom.
Emo: We're normal!
Emo Hater: Emos all suck!
Person with common sense: Some emos are pieces of shit, and some emos are perfectly alright!
by Styxhexenhammer August 29, 2009

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Your favorite word on a white mug.

Create a mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Buy the t-shirt

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Buy the t-shirt
A word people who are old like me come to urbandictionary.com to define so they can point out how they were emo fans before most people looking at this site were in elementary school.
Old Person #1: Have you heard what people nowadays call 'emo'?

Old Person #2: Yeah its so weird. I woulda called them Green Day clones back in '92.

Old Person #1: Them was the days.

Old Person #2: Yeah. I'm gonna go make fun of emo on urbandictionary. People will think I'm an old creep in a young person's world.
by arrow_keys July 15, 2005

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Your favorite word on a white mug.

Create a mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Buy the t-shirt

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Buy the t-shirt
Emo was once a negative connotation on the new style of music created by such bands mentioned already (Fugazi, Rites of Spring, etc). Now it is an overly-hyped money making process, and has flooded the mainstream radio/tv stations. Trend following kids everywhere have adopted the "emo lifestyle" because it is the newest fad.
I want to cry while we have sex with each other.
by pissoff November 25, 2003

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Your favorite word on a white mug.

Create a mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Buy the t-shirt

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Buy the t-shirt
1) An emotional person. They are not depressed all the time and some are acually very happy at times. They do smile, they don't sit in a corner crying all day. Some are actually quite popular and laugh and joke around lots.
NB: Emo does not mean the person cuts themselves, they might but that is not why they're emo.

2) A style. Quite similar from emo to emo but they try to make it quite unique. Some common features of emo's are:
-wristbands/bracelets
-long hair that covers their eyes
-jackets/hoodies
-skate shoes
-skinny fit jeans
-dyed hair
NB: Not all emo's wear this style and just because you see someone who has one or more of the above features doesn't mean they're emo.

3) A genre of music. Some people find it depressing, but generally emo's listen to it because it describes something that has happened/happening to them perfectly. It's like the band has taken their memories and found the perfect way to describe it.
NB: Just because a band isn't very popular doesn't mean it is emo and some emo music is very cheery and consoling.
1) I have lots of friends and we all joke and mess around but we are very emotional (emo's).

2) You see big groups of emo's in town wearing that style, but still managing to look cool and different.

3) Some people say My Chemical Romance is emo and depressing, but they have some cheeryish songs and their lyrics mean something to some emo's.

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Your favorite word on a white mug.

Create a mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Buy the t-shirt

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Buy the t-shirt
conformists in denial.
emo: Let's all be different by dressing, talking, and acting exatctly the same.
by idontcareok December 30, 2007

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Your favorite word on a white mug.

Create a mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Buy the t-shirt

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Buy the t-shirt
Free Daily Email

Type your email address below to get our free Urban Word of the Day every morning!

Emails are sent from daily@urbandictionary.com. We'll never spam you.

×