A style of winking that allows fine control over how much humor or sarcasm should be inferred by the reader.

In order to write a fractional wink, you must use the verbose rather than the emoticonal symbol for winking, which is <wink>. The exact verbose equivalent of ;-) is <wink>. But if you were really only half joking, you would write <0.5 wink>. There are no limits on the precision of the wink factor, but winks are generally specified to only one decimal place, and the factor must be between zero and one.

Once an author has become comfortable with fractional winkery, he may find occasion (rarely) to use a pun form; here is an example from Tim Peters:

In general, Our Guido flees from schemes that merely change which foot gets blown off <0.45 caliber wink>.

Fractional winkery was invented by Tim Peters, who is the acknowledged master of the form; many lessons in his use of it are to be found in the archives of the Usenet group comp.lang.python.

This concept can also be extended to others; for example, <grin>, <snort>, and <huff>.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.