What's the reasoning behind abbreviating hugs and kisses as X's and O's? Some say X is for hugs and O is for kisses, and some say the other way around; but why X and O, and why are they doubled?

  • I've always heard it as the other way around, and Wikipedia's article is contradictory on that point: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugs_and_kisses – jhocking Apr 11 '11 at 11:12
  • In my experience 'X' for kiss is universal. I've never encountered 'O' for hug. – Colin Fine Apr 11 '11 at 11:24
  • They're not always doubled. People often write "xo", and sometimes "xxxooo" or just "xxx". "xoxo" is just one variation on the theme. – Caleb Apr 11 '11 at 11:27
  • @Colin Fine: I've never seen "O" used alone, but "X" yes, you're right. "xoxo" is very spread, though. – Alenanno Apr 11 '11 at 22:52
  • 3
    Possible duplicate of What is the origin of "xox"? – mattdm Nov 27 '17 at 2:04

X is for kisses, and O is for hugs.

Simply, the X symbolizes the lips being in "kissing" position, and the O are the arms "hugging" seen from above.

Imagine watching 2 people hugging each other from above, you'd see 2 half-circles crossing each other, so more or less a "O".

See also this: What is the origin of "xox"?

| improve this answer | |
  • Good answer. Just wanted to add that it really doesn't matter how many you use. More X's and O's simply mean more hugs and kisses. – Loquacity Apr 11 '11 at 11:17
  • Good point, +1. As to why they are doubled, is it for doubling the effect? – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Apr 11 '11 at 11:18
  • Yeah you're right, I've always seen it that way too. – Alenanno Apr 11 '11 at 11:19
  • @Mehper C. Palavuzlar: Yes, it's how @Loquacity said. – Alenanno Apr 11 '11 at 18:40

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.