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
Dear Diary,
Mood; apathetic. My parents are squeezing me tighter than my little sisters jeans...which look great on me by the way...people call gay cause like make out with dudes...or four dudes sometimes...but can't a guy be in touch with his emotions and make out with a dude or like four dudes and not be gay? well, I guess you wouldn't understand..no one ever does...where the hell are my candy cigarretes?
What is emo? What is existance? you wouldn't understand.
by *sigh* March 06, 2006
Something that retards label things that they don't like.
Retard: LAWL! I'm so fucking stupid! Everything that I don't like is emo. I don't even know what that word means, but whatever! OH SHIT I JUST SWALLOWED A QUARTER!
by Bloodbath 87 March 06, 2009
An easy was of describing a person who

*Listens to emotionally hardcore music
*Shops at hot topic and lovebites and bruises
*Has black hair with funky bits, long at font, short at back, with side fringe, anything too crazy is considered scene
*Has a Myspace/Livejournal
Kid 1: what did he look like?
Kid 2: He had side parted black ahir, tight trousers, glasses ...
Kid 1: You mean "emo"??
by jojofaceball May 03, 2007
a really bad imitation of goth.most "emo" people are posers who only wear pink and black(boys too),and the others cry all the time,not knowing how to deal with their problems.
-Hey guys,look at these new pink skull-shaped earrings!!!Am I emo or what!(poser)
by foursouls1 April 23, 2009
Emo = Emotional Hardcore

Contrary to popular belief,
Emo is not about being depressed or cutting,
it's not short for emotional,
it has nothing to do with teenage posers who follow the trend of pretending to be bisexual, depressed, and wearing all black.
It's not a fashion.
The fashion that's commonly referred to as "emo fashion",
is actually called "scene".
And MCR and Fallout Boy are NOT emo.

In actuality, It's a branch off of hardcore punk that started in the mid 80s with the punk band, Rites of Spring.
They hated the glorified violence and restrained music that infected the D.C. hardcore scene,
and took hardcore to a greater level of experimentation
with more emotional lyrics and more melodic instruments.

Soon after, a surge of new bands started forming and creating their own adaption of the style that Rites of Spring innovated.
The summer of 1985 became known as "revolution summer".
Good emo bands from "revolution summer" include:
Rites of Spring, Embrace, Moss Icon, Dag Nasty, Gray Matter,
Nation of Ulysses, and Fire Party.

After the disbanding of Rites of Spring,
Ian MacKaye (from Embrace) and Guy Picciotto (from Rites of Spring) formed the post-hardcore band Fugazi in the early 90s. who influenced bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate, Far, Braid, and Jimmy Eat World.
In my opinion, Sunny Day Real Estate are to mall emo, (the music that's commonly referred to as emo today)
as Rites of Spring are to emo.
They started the whole movement of mainstream "emo" bands.

Happening at the same time,
was the the unground movement of screamo.
Screamo sounded similar to emo,
but louder and with a lot more screaming and slightly different song structures.
Screamo started with bands such as Antioch Arrow, Palatka,
Portraits of the Past, and The Swing Kids.
The music comprised of brutal yet somewhat melodic guitars, loud, fast drums, song structures that switch from quiet to loud, and obviously, screaming vocals.

One thing that's not true is when people say real emo is a dead genre.
because, while mainstream "emo" has taken over MTV and the radio, an underground emo/screamo scene still exists.
Circle Takes the Square, Raein, Daitro, Haram, 1905, and ...Who Calls So Loud, City of Caterpillar are all examples of emo (and screamo) bands from the last eight years, most of them are still existing.
It's not a dead genre, you just have to look for the real deal.
Person1: Is My Chemical Romance emo?
Person2: NO.
Person1: Then what is emo?
Person2: *points to definition*
by JetBlackMirror January 09, 2009
emos are not all depressed, want to kill themselfs, smoke, cut, biosexual and do drugs. Some do but not all. I personaly like the emo style because they don't dress like sluts and go around picking on people. I also like the color black witch they generaly were. they do often liston to different varieties of rock. And are passionate in their music and friends. They are often more emotional but they can't help that. Sometimes they just need a friend.
Me= look at that emo kid he could use a friend.
You= he looks like a jerk just like the rest of them.
Me= He is really nice once you get to know him. You just need to give emos a chance.
by Cazlyne Neuburkman August 23, 2006
There are lots of different types of emos and they dont all cut or hate everything.
Emos pretty much love music. Its a big part of their lives. Not all emos cut themselves tho some do. If they do, its usually for a good reason and not just planned out for attention (unless they are wannabe emos)They have a certain style and many people hate them but I really dont understand why because they are just kids trying to find who they really are. They probably really do have hard lives. most people dont make shit up like that ok? if you have a good life i dont see why you would. Lots of them are looking for love. I know I am. So Dont judge them.
by emo is love July 10, 2008

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