J = Smiley Face

The other day I was asked what does ‘J’ mean in email and text messages.
Some people have strange understandings eg. joke, smile with a big mouth, big cheesey grin, etc.
It all came about through an accident with one computer converting a smiley face to a a J. Now people associate J with a J and use both interchangeably; without wondering why.
The technical explanation is as follows ...
Answer: If you've ever received an email with a mysterious J in the body of the message, you may have been perplexed by its meaning. Some messages have a single J, while others have several. Most Js appear at the end of sentences, but they can appear anywhere in the message. So what does this character mean and why does it show up in e-mail messages (and now also text messages)?
The J is actually supposed to be a smiley face.
If you have Wingdings font installed on your computer, the character J will appear as a smiley face. Otherwise, it will be the letter J.
This is because the letter J represents a smiley face icon in the Wingdings font. Microsoft Outlook, a popular email client, automatically converts the :) and :-) text emoticons into smiley face icons using the Wingdings font. Therefore, when Microsoft Outlook users type smiley faces in an email message, they are sent as visual smiley face icons.
The smiley face icons show up correctly on most computers, since most Mac and Window based machines include the Wingdings font. Most modern email programs also support formatted text, including custom fonts. However, if you don't have the Wingdings font installed or your email program or your webmail interface does not support formatted text, the smiley face will show up as a J. Also, if a message has been forwarded several times and one of the users in the forwarding chain could not view the smiley face correctly, it will be transmitted as a J to all future recipients. Therefore, you may occasionally see Js in your emails, even if your computer and email program supports the Wingdings font.
Hopefully, now when you go back and look at your messages with mysterious Js, they will make sense in the context they appear. It should also be easier to interpret future occurrences as well.


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