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^^ in Texting — Here’s What It Really Means

^^ in Texting — Here’s What It Really Means

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Our ability to be in constant communication with one another via text messaging apps has changed the way we use language. 

The reality is that many of us now spend more time texting our friends than actually speaking to them.

There are considerable changes in the way we use language that have occurred as a result of this modern phenomenon.

One of these changes is that punctuation marks that once had one meaning have now taken on another. 

As with all changes that have ever taken place in the evolution of language, many commonly accepted meanings of punctuation marks and symbols have transformed over time as a result of common custom. 


What does ^^ mean in texting?

Texting “^^” can mean that what the person is about to say is in response to the message above in the chat. Alternatively, it can indicate agreement with the previous message. It can also symbolize the “joyful eyes” emoji, derived from the Japanese anime style of happy eyes.

Saying “^^” can be a way of indicating that what follows is in response to the previous message in the chat.  

If “^^” is being used to signify that what will follow is a response to a previous message, it will be accompanied by a clarifying text. 

However, this use has become less common since the introduction of the “reply” function in most messaging apps, such as Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. 

Now that you can simply click “reply” to make it clear that your message is a response to the message you are replying to, there is less of a need to demonstrate what you are doing.

As the practice of using “^^” for this reason has diminished, another has risen up to take its place.

Saying “^^” is now commonly accepted as an indication of agreement with what has been said above. 

If someone sends a message in a group chat and the next person simply responds with “^^”, you can assume they are saying basically saying “ditto.”

This function is commonly used in group chats when decisions need to be made. 

For example, if there has been a discussion about what plans to make, and one person proposes something concrete, it is easy for everyone who agrees to simply write “^^”, instead of having to spell out their agreement in words. 

It is often also used when one person expresses an opinion about something. In this case, saying “^^” just means “I agree with your opinion.”

Another possible meaning for “^^” is that it is a happy emoji. 

Using “^^” to illustrate a happy face, is based on the Japanese anime style of drawing happy eyes. This can either be written as “^^”, or alternatively as “^.^” or “^_^”. 

The two very different meanings of “^^” may sometimes cause confusion, as you may be wondering whether the person is agreeing with you or using a joyful-eyes emoji. 

If the meaning is not clear from the context, you can consider the person’s texting style. People tend to be consistent in how they use emojis. 

If the person using “^^” frequently just uses the regular emoji smiley , or only uses phone keyboard emojis, they would be unlikely to use “^^” to mean a joyful smiley. You can therefore assume that they are expressing agreement. 

However, if the person texting is someone who frequently uses typed symbols as emojis, they may well be expressing joy, instead of saying they agree with the previous message. 

For example, if the person uses the symbol XD instead of the common “crying laughing” face that features on phone emoji keyboards, it is more likely that they might be using “^^” as a joyful smiley. 

If in doubt, you can always ask for clarification, by simply saying “do you mean you agree, or is that a happy face?”


Variations of “^^” and their meanings

There are several related ways of writing “^^” that have slightly different, albeit related meanings. 



This is a way to indicate agreement, but with a reservation or qualification. It is usually followed by a statement clarifying which part of the previous message the person takes issue with. 

For example, “^*” might be used in the following context. 

John: Hi, I think we should just make a reservation for two people for Friday night at 7pm. If Mark wants to join later, he can, but I don’t think we should wait any longer to hear back from him

Luke: ^*

Luke: Can we book for 8pm though? I’m going to the gym after work, so 7pm is a bit early

Here, Luke is agreeing to just booking the table for two without waiting for Mark to respond, but he is using “^*” to indicate that he takes issue with the proposed time. 



This has essentially the same meaning as “^^”, except that it expresses more enthusiasm. In the same way that using multiple exclamation marks or question marks expresses heightened emotion, so too using more of the “^” symbol express stronger agreement. 

Saying “^^^^” instead of “^^” is the equivalent of writing “OMG, yes, absolutely!”, instead of “I agree.” 

The more of this symbol the person uses, the more enthusiastic their agreement with what has been said.


^^; or ^^’

This is a variation of the joyful face. 

Instead of expressing pure joy, however, this little smiley is sweating because of nerves. 

This is the equivalent of the sweating, smiling face on a phone’s emoji keyboard. 


The original meaning of the ^ symbol

Interestingly enough, despite the fact that it features front and center on most English-language keyboards, the “^” symbol, known as a “carrot”, is not actually part of the English language. 

Instead, it is a way to indicate superscript in mathematical equations. For example, if you want to write 52 on a calculator that does not have a superscript option, you would write “5^2”.

Today, the carrot is commonly used in coding language. 

The symbol is also sometimes confused with the French circumflex (ˆ), or accent circonflexe

The circumflex is the hat-like symbol that is one of the five diacritics used in French orthography, and which appears on top the vowels a,e,i, o, and u.