What Does *-* Mean In Texting

As an avid texter, I frequently encounter new abbreviations and symbols in messages from friends and family. One recent example that gave me pause wa… As an avid texter, I frequently encounter new abbreviations and symbols in messages from friends and family. One recent example that gave me pause was…

As an avid texter, I frequently encounter new abbreviations and symbols in messages from friends and family.

One recent example that gave me pause was -, an emoticon I hadn't seen before.

At first glance, it was unclear what emotion or meaning it was trying to convey.

My curiosity got the best of me, and I set out to research the origin and usage of - to decode this new mystery of texting lingo.

What I found was an emoticon that has become popular to express a range of positive emotions from excitement to affection to silliness.

For those also scratching their heads over -, read on to have this texting mystery revealed.

By the end of this article, you'll be fluent in yet another symbol in the ever-evolving language of texting and emoji.

Introduction to Texting Lingo and Abbreviations

As technology has advanced, so has the way we communicate.

Text messaging, in particular, has developed its own form of shorthand to convey ideas in a quick and efficient manner.

To understand texting lingo, it’s important to first understand some of the basic abbreviations and symbols used.

Common Texting Abbreviations

Some of the most popular abbreviations used in texting include:

  • LOL - Laughing out loud

  • TTYL - Talk to you later

  • IDK - I don’t know

  • BRB - Be right back

  • BFF - Best friends forever

These abbreviations save time and space while allowing texters to express a range of emotions, from humor to affection to uncertainty.

Common Texting Symbols

In addition to abbreviations, texters frequently use symbols as shorthand.

Some of the most well-known include:

-* - Eyes closed smiley, used to convey excitement or cuteness

  • ;) - Wink, used to convey flirtation or joke

  • <3 - Heart, used to convey love or strong affection

  • :( - Frown, used to convey sadness or disappointment

  • ! - Exclamation point, used for emphasis or to convey surprise

By understanding the most common texting abbreviations and symbols, the mystery of what - or other strange strings of characters mean can be decoded.

Texting lingo has become a language of its own, but fortunately, it’s one that’s easy to learn!

The Origins and Meaning of *-*

As an avid texter myself, the meaning of certain texting abbreviations and emojis has long intrigued me.

One that seems to perplex many is -, which expresses a sense of excitement or enthusiasm.

The Origin

- appears to have first emerged in the early 2000s.

Some sources claim it represents a facial expression, specifically wide eyes and an open mouth to show excitement or awe.

However, there is no definitive proof to confirm this origin with certainty.

The Meaning

Today, - is commonly used to express:

  • Joy or delight at hearing good news

  • Excitement about an upcoming event or experience

  • Enthusiasm for a shared interest or activity

  • A sense of wonder or amazement at something impressive or extraordinary

In short, - signifies a vibrant, positive emotional reaction to something that stirs our passion or captivates our interest in a deeply personal way.


- is popular in personal texting and on social media, especially in reactions to:

  • Plans with friends

  • Hobbies and fandoms

  • Impressive photos, especially travel destinations

  • Life milestones and achievements

However, in more formal digital communication, - may seem overly casual or expressive, so discretion is advised.

Semantically Similar Terms

Other ways to express similar sentiments include: wow, yay, awesome, exciting, fantastic, amazing, thrilling, wondrous, marvelous, and splendid.

How Is *-* Used in Conversation?

As an avid texter myself, I have often wondered about the meaning and proper use of - in online conversations.

This popular emoticon can be used to express a variety of emotions and tones in text messaging and on social media.

Enthusiasm and Excitement

- is commonly used to convey feelings of enthusiasm, excitement or positivity.

When texting a friend about good news or making plans to get together, - is an easy way to express your eager anticipation or joy.

For example:

Hey, want to meet up for coffee this afternoon? I have so much to tell you!-*

Affection and Caring

- can also be used to show affection, caring or warmth towards the recipient.

If texting your significant other, family member or close friend, - helps to strengthen the emotional tone and connection.

For instance:

Thinking of you! Hope your day is going well.


Surprise and Amazement

Some people use - to indicate surprise, amazement or astonishment about something.

Whether reacting to an unbelievable story or piece of news, - conveys your awestruck reaction.

For example:

Did you see what happened on the news today?! -* I can’t believe it!

While the meaning of - may vary slightly based on context and personal style, at its core it is used as a quick way to express positive feelings and bring emotion into your digital conversations.

By understanding the multifaceted uses of -, you’ll be able to craft more engaging and meaningful messages.

And of course, don’t be afraid to use it in your own texting - it's a great way to let your friends know you care!

Other Texting Symbols Like *-*

As texting has become increasingly popular, a whole new language of texting symbols, abbreviations and emojis has emerged.

One such symbol that often leaves people perplexed is - .

What Does - Mean?

The - symbol is used to represent wide-eyed amazement or excitement.

It signifies being overwhelmed with joy, surprise or shock in a positive way.

For example, if someone texts you about a new opportunity or shares good news, replying with - expresses that you are thrilled or stunned in an enthusiastic manner.

Origins and Related Terms

The - symbol originates from anime and manga, where wide-eyed expressions are commonly used to show a character is stunned, shocked or emotionally overcome.

It has been adopted into mainstream texting culture to convey similar feelings of gleeful astonishment or exhilaration.

Some related terms and symbols include:

  • O.O or o.O - Also signifies wide-eyed surprise or shock.

  • OMG - Abbreviation for "Oh my God" used to express disbelief or amazement.

  • :-O - An emoticon showing an open mouth expressing surprise.

  • A "mind blown" emoji used when something is overwhelmingly exciting or amazing.

When to Use -

Use - when you want to convey feelings of:

  • Joyful surprise - Receiving unexpected good news or an unforeseen windfall.

  • Astonishment - Finding out something so improbable it leaves you stunned.

  • Excitement - Discovering or experiencing something thrilling and stimulating.

  • Awe - Encountering something so impressive it evokes a sense of wonder.

The - symbol allows you to vividly share in a concise way when you are figuratively wide-eyed with positive emotions.

Deploy it when words alone fail to fully capture your gleeful amazement and share the feeling with someone else.

When to Use *-* for Maximum Impact

As an avid texter, I frequently use the - emoticon to convey a range of emotions and add flair to my messages.

- is meant to represent wide-eyed excitement or delight at something.

When used strategically in conversation, - can maximize impact and get your point across effectively.

For Expressing Enthusiasm

When something thrilling or eagerly anticipated happens, - is perfect for demonstrating your enthusiasm.

For example, if a friend texts you that they got into their dream college or landed a big promotion at work, replying with “O Congrats!” shows you're genuinely excited for them.

In these situations, - helps to convey positive feelings in a quick, lighthearted way.

To Flirt Playfully

Flirting through texting often requires creativity to stand out, and - can be an ideal way to appear charming in a teasing manner.

For instance, if someone pays you a compliment, you could say something like “Awww, stop! - You're making me blush.” Using - here suggests you are delighted by their kind words in an coy, flirtatious way.

When used appropriately and in moderation, - may make the conversation feel more lively and intimate.

For Sarcasm and Irony

Some contexts call for a more ironic or sarcastic use of emoticons.

If a friend texts you about an annoying problem or inconvenience they're facing, replying with a very exaggerated “Oh no! --” demonstrates your sarcasm in a cheeky, over-the-top fashion.

Similarly, if someone says something utterly ridiculous, an ironic “Yeah, sure
-” gets the point across that you find their statement quite unbelievable.

Used sparingly,
-* can be an simple way to convey irony or sarcasm without seeming meanspirited.

In summary, the - emoticon is remarkably versatile and can be implemented in a variety of ways through texting for optimal effect.

Whether expressing genuine excitement, flirting playfully, or hinting at sarcasm, - is a simple but impactful way to give your messages more personality and meaning.


In the end, the - emoticon remains a lighthearted way to express a range of positive emotions without words.

As texting becomes an even more prominent means of communication, especially for younger generations, understanding the meaning and nuances of symbols and emoticons is helpful.

The versatility and playfulness of - captures a sense of excitement, delight, affection, and joy that transcends language barriers.

Though simple in appearance, - packs an expressive punch and allows us to connect with others through the universal language of emotion.

While new emoticons and reactions continue to emerge and evolve, - endures as a classic way to spread good cheer and brighten someone’s day with a few quick taps of our thumbs.

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