XO Meaning: Definition, Usage & More (2024)

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Your guide to this sweet and affectionate acronym

Co-authored byAnnabelle Reyes

Last Updated: March 18, 2024Fact Checked

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  • XO Definition
  • |
  • Origins of XO
  • |
  • How to Use XO
  • |
  • How to Respond to XO
  • |
  • Military Meaning

If you’ve ever experienced Valentine’s Day, you’re probably familiar with the term XO. This acronym stands for “hugs and kisses,” and it’s a common way to express sincerity and affection to loved ones. If you want to learn more about what XO means, you’ve come to the right place! We’ll go over its definition and origins and provide examples of how to use it in letters, texts, or social media posts. We’ll also cover how to respond when someone you like texts you XO, so keep reading!

Things You Should Know

  • XO stands for “hugs and kisses.” The X represents kisses, and the O represents hugs.
  • It’s typically used to express affection, romantic love, or deep friendship.
  • XO is a common sign-off at the end of handwritten letters or birthday cards. It’s also used as a shorthand way of expressing love on social media or in text messages.

Section 1 of 5:

What does XO mean?

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  1. XO stands for “hugs and kisses.” It's technically an acronym, with the X representing kisses, and the O representing hugs. XO is a common way to express love and sincerity in cards, letters, texts, or social media posts. Though it’s commonly used in a romantic context, it can also be used to express familial love or deep friendship.[1]

    • XOXO is a popular way to “sign-off” at the end of affectionate letters or messages.[2]
    • It’s also a common term in popular culture, from the TV show Gossip Girl’s iconic line, “XOXO, Gossip Girl,” to Beyonce’s hit song “XO.”[3]
    • The acronym is also featured in the name of XO Records, a record label founded by popular Canadian musician, The Weeknd.[4]
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Section 2 of 5:

Where did XO come from?

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  1. 1

    “X” as “kisses” may have roots all the way back in Medieval times. Because many people couldn’t read or write, they would sign an “X” on official documents, rather than their name. The signer would then kiss the X to represent sincerity and trustworthiness—essentially “sealing it with a kiss.” Over time, this may have led to the letter X representing kisses.[5]

    • However, our modern use of the term “XOXO” as hugs and kisses didn't come about until the 1960’s.[6]
  2. 2

    O may have come to represent “hugs” because of its shape. Its origin is a bit murkier than X’s, but some believe that O came to stand for “hugs” because its round shape looks like two arms wrapping around someone. Another theory is that O evolved to represent hugs because X already stood for kisses, and the two letters were associated with each other due to the game tic-tac-toe.[7]

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Section 3 of 5:

How to Use XO

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  1. 1

    End a handwritten letter or card with XO. Whether you’re writing a love letter to your significant other or a birthday card for a close friend, end your letter with a couple X’s and O’s to show your sincerity and affection. Here are some examples:

    • “My love, every day with you is an adventure. I feel so lucky to have someone as amazing as you in my life. Happy anniversary, and here’s to many more! XOXO, [your name].”
    • “Happy birthday to the best friend in the whole world! I’m so excited to celebrate with you tonight. Thank you for being you! XO, [your name].”
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    Use XO to sign-off a text. If you’re sending a heartfelt text to someone, add XO to express your love.[8] It can be platonic or familial if you're texting a friend or family member, but it can also be a great way to make things flirty if you’re texting your crush. Here are a few examples:

    • To a friend: “Just texting to say I miss you a ton. We should grab coffee soon! xoxo”
    • To a family member: “Thank you for always being there for me, Mom! I was stressed out today, but I feel so much better after we talked. Love you! xo”
    • To a crush: “I had so much fun hanging out with you today. I can’t wait to see you again! xoxo”
  3. 3

    Write XO in a social media caption. If you’re posting a photo or video of someone you love on social media, “XO” or “XOXO” could be the perfect caption![9] It’s a cute, shorthand way to express your love and affection. Here are a few examples:

    • If you post a photo of a friend on their birthday, you could caption it: “Happy birthday to the best friend in the world! xoxo"
    • Or, if you post a photo of your significant other for your anniversary, you could caption it: “Happy anniversary to my love! xoxo”
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Section 4 of 5:

How to Respond to XO

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  1. If your crush texts you XO, respond with a flirty message. XO is a common way to signal romantic affection, so if your crush sends it to you in a text message, it could definitely be a sign that they like you back! To keep this romantic energy going, send something affectionate or flirty in return. You can even throw in a few cute emojis too.

    • Them: I had a great time today! Sleep well, xoxo
      You: Me too! Can’t wait to see you again🥰💘
    • Them: Just wanted to say I think you’re amazing, and I’m so glad we met! xo
      You: I feel the exact same way 😍👩‍❤️‍👩
    • Them: Thinking of you💗 Do you want to go to the movies this weekend? xoxo
      You: Yes, I would love to! Name the time and place😘

Section 5 of 5:

Meaning of XO in the Military

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  1. In the military, XO stands for “executive officer.” An executive officer is the second-in-command to a commanding officer.[10] If you’ve come across the acronym XO, but you’re pretty sure it isn’t referring to “hugs and kisses,” it could be referring to this military position.[11]

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      About This Article

      XO Meaning: Definition, Usage & More (30)

      Co-authored by:

      Annabelle Reyes

      wikiHow Staff Writer

      This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Annabelle Reyes. Annabelle earned her B.A. in English with departmental honors from UCLA in 2020. Her writing has appeared in various online publications and magazines. She now writes and edits for the content team at wikiHow with the goal of making expert knowledge accessible to anyone. She loves learning, and she is passionate about writing clear, accessible, and enjoyable content for all of wikiHow’s readers. This article has been viewed 7,169 times.

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      Updated: March 18, 2024


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