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

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The look a guy has when he catches his dick in his zipper.
No wonder Chet looked really emo last night, he had a zipper accident.
by benth August 21, 2008

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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.
by Sparky Dog August 19, 2005

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Emo was first a music genre, but now it is sometimes accepted as a social clique.
What most people think it is, is someone that wears mostly dark clothing, guys that where eyeliner, and they all cut themselves.
What I have found it to actually be is people who might not have the hardest of lives, but just enough problems to make them think they do. They are not as sad as people think though, they only want other people to think they are. It is just the same as someone who over uses jokes because they have a low self esteem, except sad instead of glad. They might write poetry, where make up, skinny jeans, and stuff, but most "emo" guys are straight. And emo's who are not faking it do not like to be called emo. they are just whoever they are, without labels. the conception that they cut themselves is wrong. some do, but I've met a few preps who take out a razor, to. emo's are just as conforming as all the rest, and the real ones will admit it. they aren't trying to be abnormal, they just like how they look.
-wanna be: hey look at me scars!!! im emo now!! :D
-real thing: no your not. your just a poser and your stupid.
by //ErikKastles// January 21, 2009

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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 captions that have plenty of X's. It is necessary to be a MySpace whore, and to beg for picture comments in a bulletin every ten minutes.

Only listen to emo bands such as Dashboard Confessional, My Chemical Romance, ect. If there is an extremely popular emo band at your school, say that you like them even if you don't.

Make it widely known that you cut yourself every night with a razorblade while listening to emo music. If ever asked why, say something stupid like, "I cut myself to stay ALIVE! You would NEVER understand!" Then run away crying, even if you are not upset.

Finally, always deny that you are emo. Claim to be scene, goth, or a "non-conformist." But always keep in mind that you are, and always will be, a pussy little emo fag.
Emo kid: My life is a big black whole of sorrow and nothingness. My razorblade is the only thing that lets me know I am still alive.

Normal kid: Fuck you, emo.

Emo kid: Oh em gee! I'm not emo! I'm SCENE!

Normal kid: What's the difference?

Emo kid: You don't UNDERSTAND! Why does nobody get me!?!?! *Runs away crying and cutting himself, preparing to post this event on his blog.*
by Disasterpiece January 02, 2008

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1. Short for "emotive". Coined by Ian MacKaye, commonly known from Fugazi and Minor Threat.
2. Type of music characterized by heartfelt, although sometimes whiny lyrics.
3. Person who listens to afformentioned type of music. Stereotypically wears too-small sweaters and tight jeans, black horn-rimmed glasses, and straight black hair, although this is not always true. Sometimes a vegan, sometimes straight edge.
Look at that emo kid pouring his heart out on stage.
by Sapnotaja March 05, 2004

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Emo is whatever you think it is, its different for everyone.
That emo is all depressed and stuff, while that emo is all happy, and that emo is just plain strange.
by HappyEmo January 27, 2008

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To me, it's a label. A stupid steriotype.
Emo's ARE NOT wrist cutters. Wrist cutters are wrist cutters.

Emo's can laugh and smile.

It's not a bad damn thing! Some of my best friends are emoish. I don't see why people like to make fun of them.

MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE IS NOT EMO!

Not all emos where tight pants.

We dont go and cry every time we get made fun of. Some of us can beat your ass :]

And that is my definition of emo.

If you don't like it, then screw you :]
Prep: Fawking emo!
Emo: ...-Punches the prep right in the face- HA!
by Jayde~ July 10, 2008

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