Word Challenge: X

Ah, the dreaded X. Whatever the challenge, it always seems to be the letter to avoid. If you have a favourite word in this letter, please add it. Foreign language words are welcome, (with translation) and American spellings are allowed. No abbreviations though.

Xiphoid.
I can thank my years in the Ambulance Service for this word. The Xiphoid is something we all have, as it is a small extension at the base of the sternum, the central bone of the chest. (Also known as the Xiphoid Process). When carrying out manual CPR, it is important to try not to break this arrow-shaped ossified cartilage.

Xenophobia.
This Ancient Greek word denotes a fear of outsiders, foreigners, or strangers. In modern use, it is generally understood to be a dislike of people from other countries. We have all seen a great deal of this going on, in recent years.

Xylene.
This is a colourless chemical used as a solvent I have no idea why I remember this word, but I do. It was probably part of some hazardous chemicals lecture I attended when working for the emergency services.

Short of resorting to a dictionary, this was the best I could do. The only other one I thought of was Xanadu, but that got a lot of use in my music (and film) challenge.

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57 thoughts on “Word Challenge: X

  1. My Petit Larousse Illustré offers even fewer X words than my Langenscheidt’s New College Merriam-Webster English Dictionary! But since I risk repeating English words already given here, I’ll throw out a couple. XÉRÈS is what we call sherry. XANTHIE is a moth. There are quite a few species, but you can look up Agrochola circellaris on Wikipedia to read about one of them. XIMENIA (same as in English, though XIMÉNIE is offered as a French variant) is a tropical plant that supplies edible fruit. One species, Ximenia americana, is commonly known as tallow wood, yellow plum, or sea lemon (citron de mer).

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  2. Good Morning Pete:

    Yes, I know you are not there and that I am terribly late. It seems I can recall only one x word in economics unless you count stock ticker symbols and ISO codes for currency. So I will not break your Xiphoid by pressing too hard and too low but XBA is the code for the European Composite Unit, XBB the code for the European Monetary Unit and there are more, but I shall spare you the more and avoid triggering your Xenophobia by mention them. However, there must be a stock symbol representing a company that produces the denatured alcohol you refer to as Xylene, could it by XBIO? If so they best do it with X-EFFICIENCY (production at the least possible cost) as they have lots of competition.
    Warmest regards, Theoretically
    PS have a great time at what ever you are away doing.

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  3. Went to the internet for this letter, Pete and here are some I found:

    “xenodochial” – hospitable; kindly to strangers

    “xerophagy” – eating of dry food; fast of dry food in the week preceding Easter

    And of course:

    “xylophilous” – fond of wood; living in or on wood. Well, aren’t we all?

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  4. Xerox is the word that came to mind for me, too.
    I grew up an hour from Rochester, NY, which a lot of folks will associate with Eastman Kodak. But it’s also where “xerography” was invented.
    My dad told me that when Kodak made a foray into the copying machine business, people would make a point of asking the Kodak guys to “Make me a xerox of this, won’t ya?” because they’d always get bent out of shape, and say “Do you mean, make me a photocopy??”

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  5. In Greek the letter X (Ξ) is very common at the beginning of words, so most x words in English have a Greek root. Xenos, for example, is stranger or foreigner, and Xiphos is a lance (in modern Greek, too). In Geek the letter is pronounced KS, not Z as in English. I always found it amusing that Brits can say taxi, but Xenia (a girls name) is always Zenia!

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  6. You have it wrapped up Pete, I was going to suggest xenith, but then spell check and the internet seem to be at odds as to how it is spelt, knowing me I’m thinking of two different words, whichever one is at its peak. If all else fails then I’ll pop it in as a Z choice 🙂

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