English, as a language, is quite open to incorporating newer words and phrases into its lexicon—perhaps more than any other language in the world. However, there are instances when non-English or unofficial words get added to its sentences without proper ratification, leaving the ones unaware of the word or phrase unsure of what to make of those foreign inclusions. Such a word or phrase or expression is “xoxo” or “XOXO”.
The phrase “xoxo” means a hug and a kiss. If you want to be sure you’re using the word with the right person and in the correct sentence, knowing its meaning is quite clearly vital. “Xoxo” is a casual phrase and you shouldn’t be using it in formal writing, such as your essays or business emails.
Keep reading to learn more about the deep-rooted meaning of the phrase, its fascinating history, how you could incorporate the word in everyday informal texts and also personal events, and some example sentences with the expression.
What Does the Word “xoxo” Mean?
The word “xoxo” basically means hugs and kisses. The letter “x” indicates a kiss, and “o” stands for a hug. The phrase literally translates as “kiss, hug, kiss, hug”. It is usually placed at the end or beginning of a sentence.
“Xoxo” is not a traditional dictionary word. Some may even argue it’s not a word at all. It’s basically an informal phrase, which is particularly used in text messages or during casual text-based conversations. The word doesn’t feature in any formal writing or grammatically correct sentences.
P.S. There is a fashion brand by the name XOXO. Do not confuse it with the love expression.
The History Behind “xoxo”
So, why do the letters “x” and “o” denote hugs and kisses? There is no documented evidence or written record delineating the logic behind using the letters “x” and “o” to express love. However, there is a theory floating around for ages.
The usage of the letter “x” to denote kiss has been in effect since the Middle Ages. The letter “o” has been added to the phrase a bit more recently. It’s believed that the people during the medieval times used the letter “x” to sign letters, as most people back then could not read or write. The letter was also used in Christianity as a symbol, representing the cross and substituting the word “Christ”.
The theory states since the history of Christians kissing Christ’s statues or the Bible is long, the “x” could have originally meant “sealing it with a kiss”. There is one more theory going around that the letter “x” appears like two individuals kissing.
The usage of the letter “o” in “xoxo” supposedly has Jewish roots. Upon arriving in North America, Jewish immigrants who could not read or write refused to sign their papers with the letter “x”, as the alphabet had a Christian reference. They, therefore, chose to sign their documents with another letter, which happened to be “o”.
The letter then, over a period, assumed “hug” as its meaning – primarily to mean something that’s opposite to “x”. The letter “o” also appears like two individuals hugging from above. If the theory associated with how things look has to be taken into consideration, these assumed meanings work fine.
The letter “x” initially symbolized “Christ”. However, somewhere along the path, it evolved into being conceived as a kiss. The evolution indicated a cultural shift that placed increased importance on love.
At that time, women wanted to get a particular notion out of their heads that they were “handed” over to a man through marriage. They wanted to have their say in their marriage and destiny. Like falling in love prior to marriage became increasingly the norm, expressing love through a letter became more widespread too, as a result.
As people started to sign and seal their letters of love with an “x”, it was assumed to be sealed with a kiss. Some even physically kissed the paper after the letter sealing. In current times, the letter “x” is viewed more as a sign denoting the puckering mouth of a person when they kiss.
Since the letters “x” and “o” were relatively simpler to write, including for people who did not learn to read, and the game tic-tac-toe (developed during the medieval period too) employing the “x” and “o” signs, the two symbols or letters have long been linked.
How to Properly Use “xoxo” in a Sentence
The phrase “xoxo” is frequently used to such an extent that its meaning has gained more nuances over a period. Plenty of substitutes and variations are used for “xoxo” – regardless of whether the expression is a part of a sentence or conversation in an email, letter, or a text message.
The phrase or expression “xoxo” means covering the other individual in hugs and kisses. Generally, the phrase is used between romantic couples. However, at times, you may use the phrase with a family member or friend in a note or text.
When the phrase is cut into half and restricted to just “xo”, the meaning remains the same. It’s just the short form of the original phrase. The smaller phrase is used to address or used in text conversations with a family member, beloved friend, or a significant other.
The letter “x”, as mentioned above, means a kiss. The single letter could be viewed as romantic. However, it could also be used for signing a letter to any individual who you would usually kiss when greeting in person.
Incorporating “Xoxo” in Wedding Material
The phrase “xoxo” expresses love. With its physical affection sentiments and marital love roots, using “xoxo” as a motif in a wedding sounds ideal. In fact, outside the digital world, there cannot be a place or event more appropriate than a wedding to use the phrase. And there are different ways to do so.
The phrase could be used in wedding invitations. A love letter could be sent to guests by stamping or engraving invitations with a “xoxo” design. If you’re considering doing so, make sure the graphic design is clear, legible, distinct, and gets the point across. A professional graphic designer would help you create the desired effect while incorporating your wedding theme and style preference.
By using the letters “x” and “o” in your wedding invitation, you are setting a welcoming, warm tone for the event. The “xoxo” sign could also be used in wedding stationery pieces, such as table cards, the menu, and escort cards.
At the wedding cocktail party, using the letters “x” and “o” would provide a social, yet intimate feel to the event. The two letters signal to the guests that they could relax and have some fun, and even perhaps connect with another guest. Cocktail napkins could be emblazoned with the letters too.
The wedding cake is perhaps the ideal spot to use “xoxo”. The cake could be topped with a metallic, shiny xoxo cake topper for a touch of elegance. If you would like a more modern twist, create the “xoxo” pattern with fondant icing and use it as cake cover. If you are, however, opting for a dessert bar and not going with the wedding cake, cupcakes adorned with “x” and “o” give a décor twist to the sweet treat.
Wedding décor and photos are other areas where “xoxo” could be incorporated.
Example Sentences with the Word “xoxo”
Here are some casual sentences that feature the word “xoxo”:
- Lots of love, mommy. Xoxo
- I wanted to ask you whether you need a xoxo while she is not around.
- See you tomorrow. Xoxo
- I love you. Xoxo
- I hope you’re fine! Xoxo
- That was so thoughtful of you! Xoxo
- I know you cannot live without me. xoxo
- xoxo Brenda. “What did he write in yours?”
- With that “xoxo” smiley face thing? Yes.
- The card read “xoxo”, and I thought it was from you.
- We are looking for a person who can send flowers anonymously, preferably yellow roses, and a card with xoxo written on it.
- Thanks a lot. xoxo.
- No. “xoxo” in my dictionary means “get the hell out of here”.
- xoxo. More power to you.
- I would be forever grateful and indebted to you. xoxo
- I love what you did with my lashes, Martha. xoxo
- I am happy I chose this dress for the wedding. xoxo
- Just confirming whether you know what I know. xoxo
The phrase “xoxo” isn’t the only way to express love and affection or shower an individual with a virtual hug and kiss. During the medieval period, sailors and soldiers used to sign their love letters with the SWAK acronym, which meant “sealed with a kiss.” In today’s day and age of the Internet and smartphones, heart and kiss emojis have pretty much replaced “xoxo” in personal chats or text messages.
However, despite this onslaught of “emojis”, the phrase “xoxo” is not going anywhere – as it’s set in certain established traditions and has a deep-rooted meaning. Not to mention, there is absolutely no dearth of millennials and the later generations who prefer actual English alphabets over emojis and GIFs to express their feelings.
If used during the right conversations and with the right people, the “xoxo” symbol or phrase will certainly remain and get passed on across generations.