Posted by Bob on November 01, 2001
In Reply to: xooo posted by ESC on November 01, 2001
: : : when you see a love letter signed "xoxo, john" what is the origin of "xoxo?"
: : The Xs and Os stand for "love and kisses." They may appear in other sequences, such as x OOO x OOO. I forget whether the Xs represent love and the Os kisses or the other way round, as well as the basis for this symbolism. Anybody out there know?
: Didn't find anything yet about O.
: X -- ".One theory holds that the X stands for a kiss because it originally represented a highly stylized picture of two mouths touching -- x. Furthermore, in early times illiterates often signed documents with a St. Andrew's cross of X and kissed that X to show their good faith (as they did with any cross or the Bible, which reinforced the association). But these explanations may be folk etymology, as may the story that mathematically the X is a 'multiplier' -- in this case of love and delight." From the Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).
The x came first, in letters, and on envelopes. The O's began appearing later. I was under the impression that the O's were for hugs, but if you say it stands for love... then it may be the same as "love" in tennis, standing for zero.