What do you call a game played on a piece of paper in which two players write either O or X in a pattern of nine squares?

Please tell me, Thank you.

  • 4
    Noughts and crosses (UK) or tic-tac-toe (US).
    – Mick
    Dec 17 '16 at 14:23
  • Interestingly enough, the first game to be learned by a "learning machine", so far as I know. Ca 1965 someone constructed the "machine" out of matchbooks and match sticks, and then "taught" it to play tic-tac-toe perfectly after what was probably several hundred games.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 17 '16 at 19:07

In 1864 the first reference was in a British Novel "Can You Forgive Her".

Noughts and Crosses

It was not changed to


until the 20th century in American English.


tic tac

was used as early as the 16th century to describe a repeated ticking sound. And a version of backgammon was named after this slang.


Here is a snippet from Wikipedia :

The game has a number of English names.

Tick-tack-toe, tic-tac-toe, tick-tat-toe, or tit-tat-toe (United States, Canada).
Noughts and crosses or naughts and crosses (United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe).
Exy-ozys, xsie-osies (verbal name only) (Northern Ireland).
Xs and Os (Egypt, Republic of Ireland, Canada, Zimbabwe).


It's called tick-tack-toe.


tick-tack-toe: a simple game in which one player marks down only X's and another only O's, each alternating in filling in any of the nine compartments of a figure formed by two vertical lines crossed by two horizontal lines, the winner being the first to fill in three marks in any horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row.

  • Oh! Thx so much
    – Fame Whiz
    Dec 17 '16 at 14:27
  • Interestingly, it is a game that neither player can win, providing that both players make no mistakes. It doesn't matter who goes first, or what starting position is chosen.
    – Mick
    Dec 17 '16 at 14:42
  • @Mick Hey, Mick. You're absolutely right. As you probably know, that fact saved the world in the 1983 movie War Games, starring Matthew Broderick. Dec 17 '16 at 19:52

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