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Posted by ESC on January 25, 2006

In Reply to: OXO posted by Brian from Shawnee on January 25, 2006

: : : : What does OXO on the end of a letter mean?

: : : It means "hugs and kisses". The O's are the hugs, and the X's are the kisses.

: : They are iconic symbols. The shape of the letter X looks a little like two pairs of lips > and < kissing: X. Putting x on the bottom of a letter is an old tradition, but I can't say how old. Adding O's to represent hugs is more recent, I believe. In my lifetime. Anybody able to pin it down more closely? (The O is a visualization, also. See two pairs of arms wrapped around each other, forming an O.)

: There's a website called that gives a little background, but they fail to come up with a date for O's as hugs although they list a few theories. They give 1901 as the date for X's as kisses.

From the archives:

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).