Jiong (Chinese: 囧; variant: 冏; Hanyu Pinyin: jiǒng; Jyutping: gwing2) is a Chinese character originally meaning a "patterned window", "as bright as the light peering from outside the window", or simply "brightness".
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. 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. It has also come to represent a Zombie Protection Fort in text form when communicating virtually during a zombie apocalypse in some video games and other interactive multiplayer formats.
Since 2007, the jiong character has been widely used in the Sinophone world, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, but also used occasionally in languages written with Chinese characters, such as Japanese and Korean, as well as others that do not, including English.
Meaning of the original character
- Window. It is from Shen Xu’s Shuowen Jiezi: “窻牖麗廔闓明” (an open and light window).
- Granary. 米囧 means “put the new rice into a granary”.
- Sacrificial place. Based on Chouli.