X marks the spot was recorded in print as early as 1813 but is probably much older, in use as long as an ‘X’ has been used to mark particular spots on maps. It is especially associated with treasure maps, where X marks the spot where the treasure is buried.
X marks the spot as an idiomatic expression is sometimes used even when there is not drawing or map with an ‘X’ on it, usually to point out the location of something. Slightly humorous.
“Okay, x marks the spot where I want you to start digging,” said the foreman, pointing to a random seeming spot on the ground.
“Where does it hurt,” asked the doctor. “X marks the spot,” replied Nicole, pointing to her abdomen.
The origin of the idiom is the practice of marking specific locations on maps or drawings with an ‘X.’ The word mark has long been used as a verb to mean “show where something is by drawing or putting something somewhere.”
More Idioms Starting with X
More Mark Idioms
More Spot Idioms