May 19 The Mystery of XOXO


“When it’s time for souls to meet, there’s nothing on earth that can prevent them from meeting, no matter where each may be located.”

XOXO, hugs and kisses, right? I have this all wrong, apparently. I have always thought that X’s were hugs and O’s were kisses. The entire world says it’s the other way around. When I look at an “X”, I see an embrace, arms entwined around one another. When I look at an “O”, I see a mouth in the shape of a kiss. But I can also see that an “X” looks like two people kissing (from a birds-eye view, with their lips puckered into a “V”) and an “O” resembles a circular embrace from the same birds-eye vantage point. Hmmph, thoroughly confused right now.

I researched where all of this X and O stuff started for a First today, and pretty much everything written on this subject seems to point to these two main ideas that don’t explain anything about hugging and/or kissing:

1). Wayyyy back, people used to sign their name with the letter “X” because lots of people didn’t possess the knowledge of written language. The “X” came to signify a crucifix/Christianity/Christ. By signing an official document with an “X”, the person was essentially saying, “In Christ’s name, I assert that (fill in the blank) statement is true.” This also explains why we sometimes see Christmas written as Xmas, the “X” denotes Christ. Sidenote: In my house, we were never allowed to write Xmas. My mom said that you should never take Christ out of Christmas. I guess she misunderstood. But when did X’s begin to stand for kisses? I don’t know when that leap happened, but it seems as though the leap was more of a small skip. In the Middle Ages, “X” was used in the place of a blessing (keeping with the Christian theme). Then at some point around the late 1800’s, X’s were commonplace in written correspondence as the seal on an envelope, as in  “sealed with a kiss.”

2). The “O” was reportedly used as a signature by Jewish immigrants arriving in America. Unable to sign their name and unwilling to use the Christian “X” symbolizing a crucifix, they chose a symbol about as different from an “X” as possible, an “O”. Many historians believe that the derogatory name for Jewish people (“kike”) is in response to their use of the symbol “O” as a signature. Kikel is the yiddish ( Jewish) word for circle. But what does this have to do with hugs? In all of my research, I never did uncover that mystery.

I still think the “X” is the hug and the “O” is the kiss, so what in the heck do I know? All of my research uncovered absolutely nothing and I am no closer to understanding why we use XOXO to mean hugs and kisses than when I started. Whatevs, I’m still using it.




8 Comments Add yours

  1. thesmilingpilgrim says:

    Lovet he quote 🙂


  2. thesmilingpilgrim says:

    Love the quote** hah


    1. love is always the answer


      1. thesmilingpilgrim says:



  3. Brian Morales says:

    Very Interesting! I learned something today!!


    1. Thank you for the suggestion. XOXO


  4. sparkyjen says:

    I have no clue why people use the XOXO either. What I do know is someone somewhere started using it, and it caught on. You’d think there would be a place somewhere on the WWW to find out why. I have a good mind to go scouting myself. Now, I’m curious. In the meantime you did find some very interesting information. Some of it I’ve heard before, even if I wasn’t exactly paying attention. The other piece was all new to me, especially the reason why Jewish people signed their names using only and O instead of X. That was pretty interesting. Love research, and yours here is much appreciated!


    1. Thanks so much sparkyjen! Hope to keep you reading. Best.


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