Sealed With a Kiss: Scotland, Saints & Signatures

Here’s some more of Bill’s Bologna:

I’m sure everyone has either signed a letter or received a letter with X’s representing kisses. How did it come to represent a kiss? Well, you’re about to find out. Here’s how:

Scotland’s Patron Saint is St. Andrew & in medieval times, contracts weren’t legally binding until the signer added a St. Andrew’s cross, or Saltire to the end. The story says that when St. Andrew was set to be crucified, he decided that he was unworthy of being put up on the same kind of cross as Jesus. They turned it sideways. So, what does a cross look like when it’s turned on its side? It looks like this:

X

The X on my keyboard isn’t a great representation of the Saltire, so here’s a picture of the Scottish flag:

The Saltire, or St. Andrew's Cross, as it appears on the Scottish flag.

The Saltire, or St. Andrew’s Cross, as it appears on the Scottish flag.

The person signing the contract would then have to kiss the cross, pledging sincerity to the Scotland & its Patron Saint.

Eventually, the practice became obsolete. People still remembered the X & over time, the meaning became a little diluted. As the contract signing tradition was forgotten, the X evolved to become the symbol you know & it worked its way into everyday mail as a show of affection.

Most etymologists think that this is also where we get the term, “Sealed with a kiss.”

Now you know. You’re welcome–

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1 Comment

Filed under Etymology

One response to “Sealed With a Kiss: Scotland, Saints & Signatures

  1. Pingback: Sealed With a… | My Blog, aka, Sorry My Mind Must Have Wandered

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