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Jiong (囧) in Kaishu, Clerical, Seal and Oracle bone scripts (top to bottom).

Jiong[1] (Chinese: ; pinyin: jiǒng; Jyutping: gwing2) is a once obscure Chinese character meaning a "patterned window".[2] Since 2008, it has become an internet phenomenon and widely used to express embarrassment and gloom, because of the character's resemblance to a sad facial expression.[3]


Original meaningsEdit

  1. Window, according to Xu Shen's 2nd-century dictionary Shuowen Jiezi: “窻牖麗廔闓明” (an open and light window).
  2. Granary. 米囧 means “put the new rice into a granary”.
  3. Sacrificial place. Based on Chouli.
  4. Toponym.

Internet emoticonEdit

The character for jiong is nowadays more widely used on the Internet as an ideographic emoticon representing a range of moods, as it resembles a person's face. It is commonly used to express ideas or feelings such as annoyance, shock, embarrassment, awkwardness, etc.

The use of jiong as an emoticon can be traced to 2005 or earlier; it was referenced on 20 January 2005 in a Chinese-language article on orz.[4] The character is sometimes used in conjunction with orz, OTZ or its other variants to form "囧rz", representing a person on their hands and knees (jiong forming the face, while r and z represent arms and legs respectively) and symbolising despair or failure.


  1. ^ An approximate pronunciation in English is /ˈjŋ/.
  2. ^ Li & Li 2014, pp. 252-3.
  3. ^ Hammond & Richey 2014, p. 141.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-15. Retrieved 2013-03-14.