About decoding curiously intriguing kisses and hugs, such as in XOXO? What do they say about relationships.
Tell us Didi, if you wouldn’t kiss someone in real life, then why would you add kisses at the end of a text, IM or email? Most of my friends end their messages with x or xx or xxx, but I wouldn’t kiss most of them when meeting and greeting face to face.
–SP, Cambridge, MA
- XX are two kisses for friendship.
- XX says kiss kiss and also bye bye.
- XXX are three kisses and an an expression of love.
- XOXO are kisses and hugs.
- xXx is more often used abroad: the small x represents a small kiss on the left cheek, X a big smack on the lips, followed by another small kiss on the right cheek.
- XXX can mean that the person is straight edge, as in I went to this party and did not drink because I’m straight edge XXX.
- XXX is a lifestyle signal clarifying that the sender doesn’t smoke, drink or do drugs. The no-nos can also include even abstinence from sex and/or that the sender is a vegetarian.
In XOXO, the Xs are for kisses and the Os represent hugs. Strangely one never sees the O without an X — hug without a kiss. But you often see a X without a hug, which is a sign of friendship.
- X represents a kiss, although the custom of using X as a symbol for yourself (as your own name) dates back to when most people simply marked an X is they didn’t know how to write their name, and sealed their mark with a kiss.
Then what about the O?
- There are religious theories that illiterate Christian usage of X, symbolizing the cross that stood for Christ — as in Xmas — to sign their name.
- Whereas people of the Jewish faith used a circle, the symbol O, for their mark, which in Yiddish means “kikel.”(Many etymologists think this is how the derogatory racial slur for Jewish, “kike,” came about.)
- Here is a stretch: Many believe the O made the jump to mean “hug,” because looking down at the circle it looked like two people embracing.
Now, what I want to know is why we spell out the words when we write “Hugs and kisses,” but when using symbols instead, the order of “Hugs and kisses,” changes to the symobols kisses and hugs — XOXO?
- You might hug an acquaintance, and also kiss someone you felt about more deeply.
- One doesn’t want to be presumptuous and go for the kiss first if you haven’t ever hugged the person first.
And what do the X and O mean in such games as tic-tack-toe?
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Accepting A Compliment