Re: Origin of expression 69

Kathleen Rout (
Sat, 6 Apr 1996 18:29:51 -0500

What about the traditional yin/yang circle with the curving S shape inside,
one side dark and one light? These are meant to imply a union of opposites
into one, one pair of which is certainly male-female. Whenever I put it on
the boeard, students laugh and assume it's 69, anyhow, so it makes sense to
me. >

> Sender: Ian Gordon <>
> Subject: Origin of expression 69
> I teach at a design college. One of my older students, a graphic designer by
> training, wants to research the origins of the expression "69" to refer to
> mutual oral sex. She is looking to make links between the typography "69"
> and theories of signs and signification. One of her questions is when did
> the term come into popular usage? Having grown up in the Australia in the
> 1950s and 1960s I first came across the expression in the late 1960s early
> 1970s but that could simply have reflected my age. My student is from
> Singapore and in her mid 20s and first heard the expression at work in
> Singapore.
> To give her research a bit of context can anybody think of another instance
> where a sign, such as 69, has been intepreted visually to represent
> something distant from its nominal meaning, in this case the number
> sixty-nine?
> Ian Gordon
> Ian Gordon
> KvB College of Visual Communication
> Sydney, Australia