Unicode's "Pile of Poo" character

For many years, most of the Internet ran on ASCII, a character set that had a limited number of accents and diacriticals, and which didn't support non-Roman script at all. Unicode, a massive, sprawling replacement, has room for all sorts of characters and alphabets, and can be extended with "private use areas" that include support for Klingon.

But for all that, I never dreamt that Unicode was so vast as to contain a special character for a "pile of poo."

Block: Miscellaneous Symbols And Pictographs
Category: Symbol, Other [So]
Index entries: POO, PILE OF
Comments: dog dirt
Version: Unicode 6.0.0 (October 2010)
HTML Entity: 💩

Here is "Pile of Poo" in whatever font your browser renders this page in: 💩

Unicode Character 'PILE OF POO' (U+1F4A9)


  1. Pile of poo is an emoji character. I believe when they mapped emoji over to Unicode, pile of poo came with. I believe you can thank the Japanese for this one.

  2. What ?? There’s a pile of poo character ? And here I am waiting for them to make a “stupid crow” …. (see http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/IdiotCrows )

  3. It truly is a universal language. The little “smell lines” convey a sense of crappyness to all mankind. Let this be a lesson of sharing and unity between all peoples. *tears welling*

        1. Cold poop is less stinky.  The lines convey both temperature and aroma.  Now that’s good design.

  4. It renders as an empty square for me in Chrome and IE. Renders with the HTML code in Firefox. No poo for me.

    1. No poo in the very latest Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

      Wonder what browser Cory is using, or if he installed extended unicode special.

      1. There’s a bug in WebKit that makes it not render properly on the Mac. I reported the bug to the Chromium project back in 2010…


        …and it was reported back to Apple. There’s apparently going to be a fix, but right now the code isn’t shipped and only works for Lion and up.

        Pile of poo works fine in Chrome on Linux, though, if you have a suitable font installed.

        1. Renders fine for me on Safari on Lion, in which it is rendered as swirl of poo, not unlike soft-serve chocolate ice cream, rendered with the most sublime gradient, such as to mimic being tickled by the light of dawn; framed roughly in an equilateral triangle, with large, button eyes and a perfect, D-shaped smile.  I kid you not.

    2. You need to install the Pile Of Poo unicode font on your system.  It doesn’t matter what browser you’re using.  

      Why haven’t you installed the Pile Of Poo font yet?  Everyone else is doing it.  

      Here is an umbrella: ☂

  5. Of my ability to understand Japanese, I would credit about half to the comic “Crayon Shinchan”. From that fount of cultural knowledge, I am aware that feces twisted into a kind of pyramidal snake is a “thing” in Japan. So I thought this might have something to do with Japanese unicode, and wasn’t surprised to read comments to that effect.

      1.  There is a bit in “The Taste of Tea” where a character takes exactly that kind of shit on what turns out to be a bare skull. It’s an extremely Japanese movie.

  6. Oddly enough, the “font [my] browser renders this page in” is Georgia, probably because that’s what BB’s stylesheet specifies.

    Edit: For those who would like to see it and have an iPhone/iPod Touch, mobile Safari displays it just fine (Opera Mini doesn’t) — mine’s set to Japanese though but I don’t think that matters.

  7. Unicode character 💩 shall heretofore become the standard emblem of Unicode in general. sine-die. selah. withal. exeunt.  [exits stage left]

  8. empty square in chrome 16.0.912.77 using the font that boingboing has asked my browser to use. I’d really like to see this in the wild :(

  9. Ever since iOS started supporting emoji characters you see this a LOT in app store reviews. Apparently the people who have no better way than a string of

  10. In Furcadia, we originally used bitmapped fonts, but eventually moved to truetype font, “Fixedsys Excelsior 2” https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Fixedsys_Excelsior#Adult_content

    Because of this font’s unusual characters in the “private use area”, we now filter out certain characters from being used in names and when users have enabled the profanity filter. These filtered characters are the two penises, large and small (U+E1CE, U+E1CF); and the *multiple* styles of steaming poop (U+E188 to U+E18A).

    I guess on reading this post, I now know there’s another codepoint we need to filter, too.

    Also in that font’s private use area is a selection of pixels that overprint, allowing the user to emulate any character that can be displayed in 8×8 pixels.

    Amusingly, early Windows’ which had no coverage of the “private use” area in their default fonts would default to this font as the only one that could cover it, so people with Furcadia installed would be the only ones who could see those characters.

    1. U+E1CE seems to be an O with a bar over it, according to http://www.fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/E1CE/browsertest.htm, and U+E1CF is an O with a upward curve over it. Similarly for your other examples…

      I wanted to see the penises….

      The pile o’ poo can be seen on that page, though, for all of us with normal browsers that don’t render Cory’s attempt above: http://www.fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/1F4A9/browsertest.htm

      1.  If you want to view it as I described, simply install the font “fixedsys excelsior 2”, then view the font in your favorite font viewer, such as Windows’ Charmap.

    2.  That’s actually how private use characters are supposed to work. The codepoints are there to allow users of the standard to handle characters that aren’t encoded in the standard.

      1. Yes, the private use area is exactly what the name implies, so I felt no need to explain it. But I have probably entirely missed your point, somewhere.

  11. Awesome! I now have a new alternative for all the excrement based names I give temporary files I don’t care about keeping.

    1. It’s in http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U1F300.pdf. Note that’s a pdf.

      There’s a lot of interesting things in there: moons with faces, cherry blossoms, roasted sweet potato, carp streamers, a trumpet, an octopus, dromedary and bactrian camels, a frog face, a bikini, men holding hands, a baby angel, a bicep, a broken heart, a money bag…take a look.

  12. It was typographer and alphabetician Michael Everson, Irish representative to ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2, who proposed that character name, which expresses the intent of the character (while other euphemisms were proposed, he tells me, none were nearly as apt).Note that this is the second scatological character encoded (ignoring some CJK Ideograms). The first was U+1313D EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPH F052, which Everson also helped to encode. 

  13. Kind of stupid that the poo displays nicely through Safari on Mac, but not Firefox…. but at least it provides me with the long-desired option to “look up shit”. Also if you look up shit, the poo gets a little speech bubble. Talking shit?

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