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.
An "Emo" really is just a confused teenager. The entire Emo subculture is rooted in music. Emo is short for "emotional" or "emotional hardcore." This type of music came about in D.C. in the 80's (before most self-proclaimed emos were even born.) The type of people who listened to this music had common tastes in fashion, and like many other fashion eras, they all began dressing the same way. Now the term Emo is associated more with behavior and style than it is with music. Simply don a pair Converse, a studded belt, head-to-toe black, and angled bangs, and voila--you're an Emo. Of course, there is the debate over real and wannabe Emos, but really they're all the same. They purposely choose to dress a certain way, act a certain way, listen to (or pretend to listen to) certain music, despite what their motives are. Whether their motives are sincere or superficial, all Emos have chosen to conform to a group of people they feel safe with. They would rather be called "weird" than be themselves and think for themselves. The ones that call themselves real Emos look and act (on the surface) like wannabe Emos. The only difference may be that they are truly admirers of the music scene, or that they truly have difficult family lives. Either way, they are all just this generation's subculture. Just like the Grunge group of the 90s or the Hippies of the 60s, the Emos have found their stereotypical shoe, their theme song, their color, and their attitude, and they will fight for it until ...more...
Something that 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.
How to be emo:
Wear only skinny jeans or old, crappy, tight, cut-up jeans. Wear tight shirts that you can barely get over your head. If after getting dressed you can't breathe and look like a hobo, you've done it right. No shoes but low-top Converse or slip-on Vans are acceptable. Anything out of Hot Topic will do.
Dye your hair with the cheapest, least-convincing black dye you can find. Nothing over 99 cents. Fix it so that you look like you just rolled out of bed then walked through a hurricane and lost a fight with a lawn mower.
Peirce everything you can reach, and put in the largest, ugliest rings you can find.
Dark, thick makeup is key in the emo world. Never leave the house without putting on globs and globs of badly-put-on black eyeliner. Extreme amounts of bright pink eyeshadow is optional.
Now that we've covered the emo look, it's time to teach you to act the part of an emo, so the others won't think of you as a poser.
Flip your hair vigorously every ten seconds. If your neck is broken at the end of the day, good job.
Whine about your pathetic life every chance you get, (twice as much if your parents are divorced) but never reveal that you live in saburbia. If asked where you reside, say something emo like, "The depths of living hell", "The home of sorrow", or some other pussy shit like that.
Always have your MySpace mood set to "apathetic," and make sure to have about 986730865734567349576 pictures of yourself with extremely emo ...
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!
The next generation of mass marketed personality. Like all those fads before it, the naive audience too swept up in temporary acceptance, beleive will last forever. No fad ever maintains its "identity" past the time it takes for one to grow up and look back on childhood pictures and see what a tool they were. Anyone who beleives emo
is anything more than a marketing device is too ignorant to search for their real identity. As of late, the "technology generation" has subconciously accepted their place as a demographic, and willingly accept the exploitation and leadership by psuedo music artists and fasion designers.
Bobby: Me and my girlfriend broke up, i think im going to kill myself in a wild, dramatic car accident, if only my eyes weren't too fogged with tears.
Grown-up: You want something to cry about, try being $300 in debt, and $500 behind on cable/gas/electric bills. All the while being asked for dollars and ciggarettes by some urban trash on the way to your apartment.
1.Most overused word in high school.
2.Word people always feel like they have to tell you the "true" meaning of.
1. Ah they are so emo and now chad is emo and i hate emos and we should go make fun of emos and...hey watch it queer emo, oh that dumb emo just bumped into me
2.People think emo stands for emotional but really it is.......