XO Tattoo Meaning, Design & Ideas

The XO symbol is a fascinating one in that we have a good idea of what it means. At least we think we do. For the most part, people use the XO as a symbol of love and happiness. However, there are some other meanings that people believe. No matter what you think it symbolizes, it is a smaller symbol that packs a much bigger punch and can symbolize a few different ideas.

This has become a popular image to have tattooed as well. People love small tattoos that are have a lot meaning. The nice thing about a tattoo of this size is that whether you are a biker or a business person, you can hide or show off this tattoo. The XO tattoo is one of those tattoos that might lead to some questions. That is the fun part about being tattooed; the conversation that comes from curiosity.

In this post we are going to talk about the XO tattoo and the origin of the XO symbol. We will also talk about the symbolism behind this image and what it means to those that decide to get it tattooed on their body. We will also share a few variations of the XO tattoo that we’ve seen and talk about if the way it is tattooed, changes the meaning at all. We hope you have a better understanding of this tattoo by the time you are done reading.

Origins of XO

Most people see the XO and think of hugs and kisses. This leads us to wonder where this idea come from.

According to professor of semiotics and linguistic anthropology at the University of Toronto, Marcel Denasi, nobody kept notes on why the symbols were used to express love or hugs and kisses, but they just started using them in letters.

The “X” means kisses. Denasi studied the X for his book on the history of kissing and says the X has been used since medieval times for correspondence. In its infancy, the X used to symbolize Christ but later evolved into what we know of it today and the kiss.

It might have been the reflection of a shift in culture which put more emphasis on affection and love. In that moment in time, women were starting to realize they were worth more than just being given away to a man. They wanted to have their own say in the way their lives would go. By the time people started coming around, it was understood that falling in love before marriage was ok and sending love letters was part of the process.

As time went by and tradition was followed, those that were writing letters were sealing it with an X. This came to mean they were sealing it with a kiss and even kissing the paper physically.

Next comes the O which is said to symbolize hugs. Some say that people used the O because it was easy to write with the X and many didn’t know how to read back then. The game, tic-tac-toe was around back then so the X and O have long been connected to each other. That being said, there wasn’t much evidence to show that an O symbolized a hug before 1960.

No matter how it started, the O became the universal symbol for representing a hug. Another idea is that when you step inside of a circle, you are it envelops you and forms a circle around you the same way your arms form a circle around someone when you hug them. The hug goes well with the kiss. The connection of X and O in tic-tac-toe is another reason. These symbols were meaning to be together.

From fashion brands to pop songs, the “XO” symbol has been one that has been in the forefront of our culture. This symbol has continually been an inspiration to many creative endeavors and projects.

In a darker theme, some believe the XO symbol has ties to the occult and illuminati. In Kenneth Grant’s book, Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God, the speak of the story of Nodens, the lightning war god. The book talks about the Noden’s sigil’s heart being the same as the Mark of the Beast. It is a combination of the X and the O which then created the flash of lightning from the depths. It claims this act initiated the beginning of the goddess because of the coming together of the X and O like the phallus and vagina.

It is also talked about how many stars use the X and O to initiate the goddess Isis and hope she will grant all their wishes for evoking her. There are plenty of examples out there if you are looking for them but this is just another example of what some might think the XO symbol stands for.

All in all, the XO tattoo meaning revolves around love and affection.

XO Tattoo Variations

Below are a few different ways that people have chosen to get the XO tattoo. There are plenty of other ways but these are a few of the popular versions we have seen.

XO Couples Tattoo

The XO couples tattoo is a perfect pairing tattoo that symbolizes the affection one has for another. In some cases, both members of the couple will have the same XO tattoo but, in some cases, one half of the couple will have the X while the other has the O tattooed on their body.

XO with Heart Tattoo

The XO tattoo with the heart is a symbol that reinforces what this tattoo is all about. If you didn’t know or thought it might have represented something a bit darker, the heart will next all that confusion. The heart lets everyone know that the XO tattoo that they have is all about the love.

However, you can make your XO tattoo mean whatever you would like it to mean. Just make sure you find an artist you feel comfortable with before you go through with it. If you are having trouble finding an artist, reach out to us at Tattoo SEO because we would love to help you find the perfect tattoo artist.

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