‘The Walking Dead’: What Did the Red Letter on Daryl’s Shirt Mean?

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 14 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon – The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 14 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Fans who watched The Walking Dead tonight are wondering about a certain uniform that Daryl was forced to wear. What did it mean? This article contains spoilers through Season 7 Episode 3, so proceed with caution.

Here’s what you need to know.

Over and over again during the episode, we saw people wearing white outfits with letters painted on them. Daryl was also forced to wear one of these shirts or uniforms. What did the letter “A” on Daryl’s shirt mean?

Fans have a few theories.

You may have noticed that the people moving the zombies had similar shirts with different letters spray painted on them. In addition, some zombies in the fenced in yard also were wearing the shirts. These shirts might serve similar to patches and other means of identifying people in Holocaust concentration camps. The “uniform” might have served as a way of helping these newcomers see that they weren’t that different from the people who were being punished or killed — a reminder that not much separated them from such a gruesome fate.

It also appears that people who aren’t wholly sold out for Negan are wearing those spray-painted uniforms. Daryl is wearing one and he is in the “breaking in” phase. It’s possible that the people wearing these are either still being broken in or are working on Negan’s points-based system because they hadn’t sold out completely him.

As for the meaning of the letters themselves, that’s hard to decipher at this point. Daryl’s big red “A” is a reminder of The Scarlet Letter, which served a similar purpose of setting someone apart from the community. But each individual letter might also have its own meaning. It might serve as a form of a name, before someone takes on Negan’s identity. So perhaps it’s a step in the direction of losing your identity. Or it might show what “stage” in the process a person is in. These are all theories that fans are suggesting.

What do you think the letters mean? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. The letter A has appeared many times throughout the series, not sure what its true meaning is but it always seems to signify the survivors being captured. At Terminus ricks group cart was A and sam used the letter A in Alexandria.. Its significance might be explained soon

  2. I also think it’s like a concentration camp feel but at the same time it reminded me of The Scarlet Letter those are some pretty good ideas could be a process like getting jumped into a gang working his way up The ranks butt being Outcast by the letter a is also available I can’t see how the Whispers tie into that

  3. I thought A meant Alexandria. I thought it could just be the community they are from. So an S could mean Savior. Meaning it’s one of their own. I saw an F no idea unless it was a community we are unfamiliar with.

  4. If you remember in last year’s season finale “Last Day On Earth”, Simon caught a guy and he said he was going to use him to teach a lesson. The lesson was for Rick and his people. They spray painted the letter X on that guy and eventually hanged him by the neck off an overpass at the log barricade. It seems to me that ‘A’ is a starting place and X, perhaps, the final destination for those who don’t earn their way out of the ‘point’ system or into Negan’s good graces.

  5. The A means Alexandria. So I’m thinking the letters on the others shirts is the first letter of their community. If this is right then that means there is alot more communities out there

  6. As I’ve been looking online for theories not many people have actually noticed it. But I started noticing from when they were all put in container ‘A’ at terminal. All over the place the letter A keeps appearing and it has to mean something it can’t just be coincidence.

  7. A lot of good theories. ..I originally thought a for alexandria (and others for their communities ) but a “points system” has been introduced, therefore causing me to believe that perhaps the alphabet is kind of a points scale, too, but maybe for acceptance (or showing they have fallen to the will of negan)…dunno…just happy that this season has finally gotten more exciting since the sad sad first episode. Btw, does anyone hate negan? I mean….how sexy he is, yet u wanna destroy him, f’in kill him and keep his corpse around for….just a little bit….you know what I’m talkin about ladies….

  8. I feel the same as Michael Garcia. I believe the A stands for Alexandria, In the episode”Forget” 2015 there were As stamped on the back of everyones hands at the party and Rick gets stamped with an A also. I will have to back track and see where else the A appears. Just a thought about letters remember the W on the bad guys foreheads during that season also? Curious

  9. This made no sense at all lol , the letters on the uniform represents the community they were taken from ……one prisoner had “S” so if you’re talking levels don’t you think A to S is way too many, Negan said 3: work for points, work for him or end up working as a walker on a spike