X's, crosses as kisses and as blessings

James Harbeck jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA
Fri Jul 4 01:47:34 UTC 2008

Side note: Laurie Anderson, in "Let X = X" from her 1982 _Big
Science_, has the following line (I reproduce it as heard): "hugs and
kisses ex ex ex ex zero zero zero zero." I suspect she says "zero"
rather than "oh" for the sake of humour and perhaps some other arcane
reference (she does love those). The practice of O's with X's was
very well established by that time (it sure wasn't new to me), so
perhaps "late 20th century" might make it sound a touch more recent
than it is.

Mark Mandel's reasoning on O = hug is just what I've always assumed,
too. Without evidence, of course.

James Harbeck.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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