Hugs and Kisses: The History and Symbolism of "XO"

Hugs and Kisses: The History and Symbolism of "XO"

With Valentine's Day around the corner, many of us will share sweet sentiments with loved ones via greeting cards, emails, and even social media. One of the most popular sign-offs, the classic "XO," we know to represent hugs and kisses, but was this always the case? In honor of our new SCRABBLE-inspired Valentine's Day jewelry, we invite you to discover the origins of this symbolic seal of affection.

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Case of the X Have you ever been told to "sign at the X" or "initial here" when authorizing a document? In the Middle Ages illiteracy was common, which led to the use of "X" to sign correspondence. Also, "X" was linked to the Christian cross, which further asserted its use as trustworthy and authentic. It eventually evolved to mean "kiss," which is different from what we know it to represent today. Although the reason is unknown, some theories point to examples in old texts and periodicals while others link its physical resemblance to two people kissing. Believe it "O" Not The history of "O" and how it came to be paired with "X" isn't as clear. However, one theory suggests its connection with tic-tac-toe. This ancient game was created not long after the first use of "X" meaning "kiss," and with nothing to symbolize "hug," perhaps "O" was chosen for its simplicity. However, when did the meanings switch? One idea suggests that "X" actually looks like two people embracing while "O" resembles a mouth, and over time became ingrained in culture, explaining why we say "hugs and kisses" versus "kisses and hugs." Love Makes the World Go 'Round In today's world, "XO" maintains its popularity, relevancy, and familiar meaning. From pop songs to fashion brands, it continues to inspire countless creative projects and endeavors. Although theories of its origin vary, one thing is for sure - "XO" has solidified itself as a timeless expression of love.