21 June 2009

Hugs and Kisses

I text a lot. In texting, lots of acronyms are used, and now-a-days, most of them came from teh interwebs. However, I know some predate the interbutt, and I was just wondering how xoxo came to mean "hugs and kisses."

I'm not totally convinced with what I've found, but I keep coming across the same answer more or less:

First of all, is the O the hug or the kiss? I always thought the X was the kiss--on some level related to XXX or movies being X-rated. I think I also thought the O just looked like a hug... Some people seem to think the X looks like a top-down view of two mouths puckered up, kissing. I had never thought of that.

What sounds most right to me is:

The use of XOXO goes back to the use of an X or cross, which was considered as good as a sworn oath in times before most people could write and therefore used the X in the same way a signature is used today — a mark of one's word. An X at the end of a letter or document was often kissed as a seal of honesty, in much the same way one would kiss a Bible or kiss the fingers after making the sign of the Christian cross. Thus the X came to represent a kiss in modern times.

No one really seems to know about the O.

...ok. Back to things being X-rated. A lot of theories out there on this, too.

  • It could be an extension of the kiss-implying-X
  • X has long been an abbreviated form of the word "ecstasy."*
I like this one best:
  • Amsterdam has long been associated with pornography. Check out the flag of Amsterdam (these are three St. Andrew's Crosses said to represent Valor, Resolution and Mercy):

Granted, this has only been the official flag of Amsterdam since 1975, but the one used before it (and since the 1600s)


* Middle English extasie, from Old French, from Late Latin extasis, terror, from Greek ekstasis, astonishment, distraction, from existanai, to displace, derange : ek-, out of; see ecto- + histanai, to place


As far as XXX-rated beer, Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable says, "X on beer casks formerly indicated beer which had paid the old 10s. duty, and hence came to mean beer of a given quality. Two or three crosses are mere trademarks intended to convey an impression of its extra strength."


Also, I found this list which is pretty interesting. I'll do my best to never let my blog become just this, though. Jajaja.


Chela said...

Heidenkind said:

The Amersterdam/porn connection is freaking genius. :D

6/22/2009 1:55 AM

Chela said...

Anaraug said:

Concerning alchol -- I always thought that XXX meant liquor, not beer, but that was always just an assumption. In cartoons the things that come out of those bottles never looked bubbly to me.

The first thing I think of when I hear "XO" is aging labels on cognac:, there's VS, VSOP, and then XO, with XO standing for "Extra Old". (The other two being "Very Special" and "Very Special Old Pale".)

Some googling actually relates the two -- moonshiners putting more X's to denote even more quality or strength with the benefit of the relative anonymity of the symbol, but there are lots of beer brands with X's in them as well.

6/22/2009 3:04 PM