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XO

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Aug. 28 2007, Published 10:14 a.m. ET

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XO. It's become a more common email sign-off than "sincerely," — whether you've ever had a face-to-face meeting with the person before or not! I write "XO" when writing e-mails to my family, my best friends, but now also friends... and colleagues... and even to soften the blow after I send a very blunt e-mail to a publicist basically saying I don't care at all what you're pitching me (MTV’s Pimp My Ride star Xzibit drinking Right Gin. Hmm, I’m making the educated guess you really don’t care). So, to the publicist who just sent that with the preface, "I have a GREAT sighting for your readers…" I write back,"No, sorry, I don’t think that sighting is at all right for our readers, but thanks! XO" Doesn’t the XO make me sound nicer? Actually for an item so entirely out of our demo they may not get the "XO," but I think you get the point.

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Even celebrities often sign autographs "XO." Does that mean they're giving you hugs and kisses?

Bonus: Did you know: XO is the name of a rock band, an album by Elliot Smith, a song from an album by Fall Out Boy... and also: a telescope, a way to grade cognac as "extra old," and the two symbols in tic-tac-toe?

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