Unicode Sex Symbols โ™‚ โ™€ โšค

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .
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Sex Signs

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Note About Sex Symbols and Their Meaning

Unicode assign each character a name. Typically, when a symbol has one universal meaning, Unicode names it by the character's meaning. For example, ฮฑ is named GREEK SMALL LETTER ALPHA.

However, there are complications. For example, โŒ˜ was named COMMAND KEY in Unicode 1 (released in 1991). But since Unicode 2 (released in 1996), it's changed to PLACE OF INTEREST SIGN. The original use of this symbol is place of interest on maps, but not widely known. It is more commonly known today as the symbol of Apple keyboard's command key. (Unicode 2 changed many character's names, but from version 2 on forward, name will not be changed, because Unicode character name is used for identifier purposes.)

[see Keyboard Symbols โŒ˜ โ†ฉ โŒซ]

More examples of Unicode character naming issue:

ฮผ is named GREEK SMALL LETTER MU. But this Greek letter is commonly used to mean โ€œmicroโ€ in engineering, and Unicode created another character for micro, this: ยต named MICRO SIGN. [see Unicode: Greek Alphabet ฮฑ ฮฒ ฮณ]

ฯ€ is named GREEK SMALL LETTER PI, but is often used as math constant for the ratio of circle's circumference to diameter. As of 2017-02-11, there is no separate symbol for math pi.

โ™ is named EARTH, used in early astronomy. (it should be rendered as up-side-down female sign โ™€. Some font may render it as circle with plus inside.)

โŠ• was used for Earth in early astronomy, but is named CIRCLED PLUS, since it is used heavily in math. [see Unicode Math Symbols โˆ‘ โˆซ ฯ€ยฒ โˆž]

โ™€ is named FEMALE SIGN, but was used in early astronomy for Venus (and โ™‚ is Mars. The male and female usage came later). There's no separate character for Venus. [see Astrology Symbols ๐ŸŒ›]

When a symbol has multiple uses, and none is outstanding, typically Unicode name the character descriptively, by the shape of the character, or generally without particular meaning.

For example, the name Unicode assigns to the symbol โšฅ is MALE AND FEMALE SIGN (not intercourse, not transgender, not bisexual, not heterosexual), and โšง is named MALE WITH STROKE AND MALE AND FEMALE SIGN. Not transgender, not pansexual.

Here is more Unicode naming:

I'm not sure why there are 3 versions of the same sign that only differ in orientation. Unicode typically don't do that, except for arrows. [see Unicode Arrows โ†’]

In giving a name to these symbols on this page for purposes of sex and sexual preference and relations, I try to give all possible uses. You can find out the name Unicode assigns to a character by hovering mouse over the character.

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