What do the Distress Letters SOS Stand For and How did the International Distress Signal Originate?

The international Morse code distress signal is commonly known as SOS.

Morse code is a series of electrical impulses that signify the letters of a structured message.

SOS doesn’t stand for “save our ship” or “save our souls,” as has been commonly believed.

First adopted by the German government in radio regulations, the letters SOS do not stand for anything.

SOS was chosen as a distress signal at an international conference in 1906 because, at nine keystrokes, three dots, three dashes, three dots, it was thought to be the easiest combination to transmit.

S.O.S. is also the title of a song by the Swedish pop group ABBA released in 1975.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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