Anime girl holding up a sign that reads "uwu"

uwu

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About

"uwu" refers to an emoticon typically used to convey happiness or smugness, and is sometimes referred to as "happy anime face". The face is also sometimes used in shitposting.

Origin

While the exact origin is unknown, it is speculated the first of the emoticon was in chatrooms. The first proven use of uwu is in the Yu-Gi-Oh fanfiction Genie of the Puzzle, published by user DaakuKitsune on October 14th, 2005.[13] In the fanfiction notes before the story, the author states "Again, feel free to throw squids and fish at me. UwU I deserve it, you know" (shown below).


Words Jii-chan - Grampa Wheee! Sarah/ryoulover4ever was my 200th reviewer! I'm sorry this took so long! -/smacks self/- Again, feel free to throw squids and fish at me. UwU I deserve it, I know. This is just a filler to prove I'm not dead. Things start getting interesting next chapter! xD -х-х-х-х-х-START-x-x-x-х-х- Chapter 6 Mutual Attraction

In 2021, writer Brian Feldman noted in his newsletter BNet[16] that the usage of uwu here does not align with modern interpretations. He write, "All of this leads me to theorize that the oldest known use of uwu deploys it in a dramatically different context than the one we are now used to. Which is fine, because internet language is rarely prescriptive -- there is never one exact right way to use ambiguous pictographs like emoji and emoticons. In fact, that’s how they derive their power: allowing the reader to use the surrounding conversational context to figure out exactly what they mean.

Spread

Usage of the uwu continued over the next decade. On August 16th, 2012, Urban Dictionary user hyruleinbed defined the emoticon, "UwU or uwu is another way of typing the smiley face :3, TwT or twt. it means happy, like an anime character's face when they're overjoyed." The post received more than 2,500 upvotes in less than nine years (shown below).


uwu UwU or uwu is another way of typing the smiley face :3, TwT or twt. it means happy, like an anime character's face when they're overjoyed. Wow, that makes me so happy! uwu by hyruleinbed August 16, 2012


Months later, on May 12th, 2013, a conversation about the emoticon went viral on Tumblr. [12] In the post, Tumblr user homuras writes, "‘uwu’ isnt even a face to me anymore its actually the sound 'oowoo.'" Tumblr user strudelgit responds, "IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE A FACE!?!??!" The post received more than 52,000 notes in less than eight years (shown below, left).

Image edits that utilizing the emoticon grew in popularity in the 2010s. On July 20th, 2015, Tumblr[14] user akoolguy published an edit of the Wii that features uwu. The post received more than 55,000 notes in less than six years (shown below, right).


strudelgit: homuras: 'uwu' isnt even a face to me anymore its actually the sound "oowoo" IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE A FACE!?!??! TM

Various Examples


sonic says: stay tru to yourshelf uwu very manipulate many anxious such positive much cute PAWSitive lol 9-gomen Wow http://Marthnely cn


uwu Culture

uwu Culture refers to the backlash surrounding the use of "uwu" on the blogging platform Tumblr. The term began appearing in November 2013 after a poster suggested older men were using the emoticon and typing styles deemed kawaii to manipulate teenage girls. As early as November 2nd, 2013, a Tumblr tag for the term "uwu culture"[1] appeared, with many people asking what the term meant.

Search Interest



External References

[1] Tumblr – Posts tagged uwu culture

[2] Tumblr – twodeercinemaclub (page unavailable)

[3] Tumblr – throh (page unavailable)

[4] Tumblr – bugcthulhu

[5] Tumblr – what is uwu culture an informative post (page unavailable)

[6] Tumblr via Wayback Machine – what do you think of the whole uwu culture thing

[7] Tumblr – uwu culture (page unavailable)

[8] Tumblr – So I realized that people were getting mad over the emoticon: uwu (page unavailable)

[9] Tumblr – Tagged uwu

[10] Tumblr – Tagged despairkomaeda

[11] DeviantArt – uwu

[12] Tumblr – oowoo

[13] Fanfiction – Genie of the puzzle

[14] Tumblr – Nintendo's New Console Leaked

[15] Urban Dictionary – uwu

[16] Bnet – are we using uwu wrong

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