Every character has a story #34: PILE OF POO (U+1F4A9). Or not....

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2011/11/17 07:01 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2011/11/17/10238146.aspx

Over in the Suggestion Box, "Eli the Bearded" asked:

I see a need for a Unicode character story behind 'PILE OF POO' (U+1F4A9).

Ah yes -- good old U+1f4a9.

U+d83d U+dca9, as a UTF-16 "surrogates pair".

Pictorially, scatologically, this one:


Originally known as DUNG, or "dog dirt".


It is one of the Emoji.

And a fun one.

I mean yes, Unicode sold its soul when it agreed to encode the Emoji. And this one has become a fun counter example to every proposed character people have, with the pattern:

"They encoded a PILE OF POO but they didn't encode _____________."


"They encoded a PILE OF POO but they didn't encode Klingon."

It has even had time in Reddit, in a "Maybe they added too much to Unicode 6.0 thread that people had fun with -- you can read it here.

And it is in Windows 8, too.

No weirder than any other Emoji, though. All of it adds up to a PILE OF POO in my book.

I mean, "threads" like this one nonwithstanding....

I can't do this. I can't.

Some stories are better left untold....

Jan Kučera on 17 Nov 2011 7:34 AM:

I guess it is only a coincidence that the poo looks mirrored as well... :)

Michael S. Kaplan on 17 Nov 2011 8:03 AM:

Well, it is on a pseudo mirrored build! :-)

vit$oft on 17 Nov 2011 9:43 AM:

I miss that glyph in Windows Character Map.

It could simplify discussions on social networks a lot.

Brandon Berg on 17 Nov 2011 5:33 PM:

Ha! A "fun" one. Intentional pun?

Michael S. Kaplan on 17 Nov 2011 8:44 PM:


Takeshi on 17 Nov 2011 9:24 PM:

Here in Japan, we send poo e-mail to friends all of the time.

Poo is also used in children anime frequently.

Brendan Elliott on 19 Nov 2011 1:50 AM:

Emoji work a lot better when you already have a built-in system for converting phonetic input to ideographs anyway (e.g. an IME -- reminds me that my favorite method of typing Greek letters is via the Japanese IME -- this is why 'beta test' in Japanese is often written as 'βテスト'). They are so commonly used in Japan (especially on cell phones) as basically substitutes for kanji in sentences, that it's about time that computers got better support for them as they've been fairly ubiquitious in Japan as a form of written digital communication for at least 10-15 years now...

Heck, computers are still behind the times compared to cell phones because this is still just a static black & white poo instead one that is in color and animating.  The low end phone I used when I studied abroad in Japan in 2002 had color emoji.  However, progress is still progress, even when it involves poo. :-)

Klimax on 19 Nov 2011 11:19 PM:

@Brendan Elliott 19 Nov 2011 1:50 AM:

I think there is some difference betweeen symbol and image...

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