Here’s a prompt: Write something using an English word that starts with an X. If you were given this prompt, what would you write about?
“Xylophone”. I think that’s really the first, easiest and, sometimes, the only word that immediately comes to mind when thinking about an English term that starts with the letter X. Which usually does not help when playing Scrabble (considering the number of letters, unless you are to add “xylo” to “phone”…genius!). Well, include “xerox”, too. It was technically not really a word but a brand for a popular photocopying machine employing xerography (hey, another X-word!). It is now a noun that is accepted in the English dictionary.
So now, I’m mad. I’m not in the mood to write about xylophones or xerox. What to do?
Obviously, it need not be said that there’s a reason there’s only one letter X tile in Scrabble. It is hard to find a word that starts with it, even if you cheat! Usually, you just use it as a filler to complete longer-letter words. Or you squeeze it in-between gaps when you have nothing else to score with, for words like:
…Can you think of more?
You can’t even use it as a one-letter word like “a” and “I”. Unless you use it:
- to represent an unknown quantity or variable
- as the multiply sign when counting on paper or board
- as the Roman numeral for 10
- to refer to the female chromosome
- when signing a love letter with a kiss
- to mark a spot
- to make a “NO” gesture
- to cross out something or remove
- to indicate that something is incorrect
- to make the sign of the cross when you’re scared
- as code for that infamous party drug (…Just don’t, okay?)
Yes, the letter X is pretty versatile, but it is still not a word. It even needs a default spelling, the “ex-” prefix, just to function as a way to cross out something (or someone!) or emphasize the past: “Ex-boyfriend” or “ex-partner” (although one can simply say “My ex”), “ex-senator”, “ex-athlete”. You get the idea.
But whether to cross out something, imply an interaction, or mean the opposite of “in”– It. Doesn’t. Work. You shouldn’t really write “x-girlfriend”, “x-husband”, “xchange”, “xhale” or “xhume”, right? Maybe not unless you’re texting.
So, can the letter X be more essential in our lives? I guess so, yeah.
Basically, X is used around the world:
- for People’s Names
- Xavier, Xander, Xeno
- Xia, Xiomara
- Xena (probably first coined for the popular show and now kids are named after her)
- Malcolm X (the name Malcolm Little decided to use)
- to Name Places (Did you know that NO country starts with the letter X?)
- Xiamen City (and many more cities in China)
- Xi (a river in China)
- Xochimilco (in Mexico)
- Xanadu, which is not just a romantic musical
Quick Trivia: In the Philippines, road authorities put up signs that said “Ped Xing”. Like most people confused by it, I first thought that Ped Xing was a Chinese-Filipino the street we were on was named after. But why were the same signs put up at various places…? It turned out it meant “Pedestrian Crossing”!!! Pffft…Communication gap. At least, they’ve done measures now to let the public know.
- in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Fields
- as Popular Terms
- Generation X a.k.a. Gen X
- for Popular Media
- The X Factor
- The X-Files
- Triple X or xXx
Oh, my. I still don’t know what to write about. I am so clueless! What should my topic be, what should I write about, what–Oh, wait. I think I just wrote it. What the X!..,Well, what d’ya know?!!
Earlier this year, I think I mentioned several times that I would finish my A to Z Challenge 2017. Honestly, things would always get in the way that I couldn’t do it. Then last time, I said it again and meant it. But guess why I couldn’t immediately continue…The letter X was the problem! I wanted to list down topics so that when I began, I wouldn’t have to stop again and I’d just go on till I reached letter Z.
For the life of me, I couldn’t think of an X-word connected to writing that I could write about! I really had to put things off until I posted my teacher-parents post. I still did not know what to write about back then. Fortunately, inspiration struck me and now, here it is. I dare say it was worth my long wait!
This piece serves as my Letter X post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.
For my previous posts, kindly visit my A to Z Challenge 2017 page.