What Does EMO Mean?

EMO means "Emocore (a music genre)," "a young person who dresses like a Goth and listens to Emocore," or "Emotional."


The term EMO is a contraction of "Emocore," which itself is a contraction of the words "Emotional" and "Hardcore." EMO music was originally a genre of rock, characterized by an emphasis on emotional, often confessional, lyrics. EMO songs usually have a more sensitive and personal side to them than in most other genres of music.

EMO music emerged in Washington DC during the mid-1980s, as a style of post-hardcore punk rock. It was pioneered by bands such as Rites of Spring and Embrace, before being adopted and reinvented by alternative rock, indie rock and pop punk bands. During the early and mid-1990s, a number of independent record labels began to specialize in EMO music. By the early 2000s, major record labels had got involved and EMO music became widely popular, with bands such as Jimmy Eat World, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and Panic! At the Disco becoming established performers with enduring appeal to a wide fan base.

Person Dressed Like a Goth

EMO is now more generally used to refer to a person (typically a teenager) who dresses in a Gothic style and listens to EMO music.

Top 10 Songs We All Listened to in Our Emo Phase


EMO is also used as a straightforward contraction of the word "emotional."

A Video Summary

Here's a short video explaining how to use this entry on EMO.

Image for EMO

When I write EMO, I mean this: meaning of EMO Like Goths, many EMOs strive for that "just-got-out-the-coffin" look.

Summary of Key Points

First Definition of EMO

"Emocore" is the most common definition for EMO on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Definition:Emocore (or a follower of Emocore)
Type:Word and Abbreviation
Guessability:guessability level 2
2: Quite easy to guess
Typical Users:typical user
Adults and Teenagers

Second Definition of EMO

EMO is also widely used to mean "Emotional."

Type:Word and Abbreviation
Guessability:guessability level 2
2: Quite easy to guess
Typical Users:typical user
Adults and Teenagers


Examples of EMO in Sentences

Here are examples of EMO being used in conversations:
  • Julie: Is Sarah's new boyfriend related to Dracula?
  • Jane: No, he's an EMO.
  • Kylie: Do you fancy going to an EMO party?
  • Karl: Is that an oxymoron?

An Academic Look at EMO

EMO is a shortened version of the term "Emocore," which is itself a contraction of the words "Emotional" and "Hardcore." Therefore, EMO is a contraction of a contraction.

The word EMO can be used as a noun or an adjective. For example:
  • He is an EMO.

  • (Here, EMO is a noun.)
  • Is "sorrow" the collective noun for a group of EMO teenagers?

  • (Here, EMO is an adjective.)

What Did We Say before Texting and Social Media?

Before the digital era, we might have said something like "A sad Goth" or "A depressed Siouxsie & the Banshees fan" instead of using EMO.

Example of EMO Used in a Text


"Cyber Speak" Test

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