The Book Of Jezebel: X Is For XXX

This week we are welcoming our first book, a 300-page, hardcover, illustrated encyclopedia called The Book of Jezebel. In honor of this milestone —which took many years and dozens of contributors to execute—we're posting one entry from the book a day, starting with "A" and continuing on through to "Z." As always, questions, additions, annotations and suggestions on the entries that appear online are welcomed and encouraged.

XXX

According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, an X scrawled on a beer cask used to indicate that the brewer had surrendered the sufficient duty to the government for selling the stuff. Tripling the boozy signal evolved into shorthand for all things extreme—scrawled on a jug, it's a stiff alcoholic drink (maybe moonshine); a winning line in the game of tic tac toe; shorthand for kisses (or is it hugs?); relayed over a radio signal, it's a distress call just short of SOS; affixed to film, it's hardcore porn.