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“XOXO” Meaning and Its Origin

Generally, XOXO is an informal phrase used to express love, good friendship, faith, and sincerity when concluding well-meaning messages, emails, or letters.

Geoffrey Mutie
Geoffrey Mutie

Generally, XOXO is an informal phrase used to express love, good friendship, faith, and sincerity when concluding well-meaning messages, emails, or letters. Although some regions don’t use the phrases XOXO or XO, they use the abbreviations XX and X.

The use of X/x for “kisses” and O/o as hugs symbols on envelopes dates back to 1763 when Christian crosses were also drawn on documents to indicate honesty, faith, and sincerity. Since most people were illiterate, they used X as a symbol of a signature.

The use of O is more recent and was analogically created. However, there’s speculation on the internet that the source of the O is North America. In the US, Jewish immigrants often used the O to sign their documents instead of the cross or X. But what does XOXO mean? Literally, the meaning of XOXO is hugs and kisses.

“X” is a symbol for kissing

The X in the term XOXO has been used since medieval times. Initially, the X was used for religious practices (to symbolize Christ) but changed with time to be a way of signing documents with a “kiss” for love and affection.

“O” is a symbol of hugs

Since the two letters are easy to write, even for illiterate people, O symbolizes hugs but only when combined with the letter X.

There are theories explaining why the O means “hugs,” which are even more made up than those explaining the meaning of X.

Some claim that O seems like the circling of the arms during a hug, while others claim that maybe it’s because it was used to sign documents by the Jewish immigrants, just like Christians used X as a signature.

The other often used XOXO variations include XO, X, SWAK (meaning “sent with a kiss”), and kiss, and hug emojis.

Examples

See you soon. XOXO
Love you and miss you. Xoxo
Take care. Xxxx
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