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"?

  • 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

protected by RegDwigнt Jul 3 '12 at 9:19

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

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