What does ‘uwu’ mean?

As a person of the internet, you’re no doubt familiar with using acronyms online. But what about the use of letter combinations that don’t actually stand for anything?

“Uwu” is a good example of this. It’s difficult to define uwu, as it doesn’t have an exact meaning in the way that “LOL” means “laugh out loud.” So what is uwu?

What does uwu mean?

As the image above illustrates perfectly, uwu (also stylized as “UwU” or referred to as “uwu face”) represents the shape of a happy face. It’s also known as “happy anime face.” The expression can be interpreted as being happy in a particularly smug way.
Uwu is often used in Japanese and Korean online culture, typically in response to something especially cute, or kawaii.

How do you pronounce uwu?

You don’t, really. Uwu is more of an online thing, so it’s rare you would use it in conversation. But if you really wanted to use it, “oooo-uuuh” would be the best approximation.

Uwu usage in furry fandom

The uwu emoticon is especially popular among furries, as the “w” can be seen to resemble an animal’s nose. Furries are people fascinated by anthropomorphic animals, and often dress like (and have sex as) them.

Uwu: The Luke Skywalker Edition

In 2018 a fan persuaded Mark Hamill to tweet “uwu,” which he did, after clarifying the meaning wasn’t something that would “prank” him.
Critics of uwu—and there are many who find the emoticon annoying—were appalled.

Uwu: not be be confused with owo

There is also “owo,” or “OwO.” This has a different meaning than uwu. While owo still represents a face, it’s an evolution of “o.o,” the emoticon used to convey a slightly surprised blank stare.
Owo is often followed by “What’s this?” when people discover or share content that startles, surprises, or intrigues them. Uwu and owo can coexist peacefully on the internet—but it’s good to have a firm grasp on both so you can properly express yourself online.

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Amy-Mae Turner

Amy-Mae Turner

Amy-Mae Turner is a tech reporter who focuses on gadgets, streaming entertainment, social media, and internet lingo. She previously served as a senior features writer for Mashable.