X is for ….X?

X is for ….X?

I’ve have spent the month of April absolutely dreading today because we have finally arrived at the letter “X”. What to write about, other than the obvious??

I have thought about people beginning with X (Xena Warrior Princess anyone?), places beginning with X (mostly provinces and remote villages in China), food beginning with X (nope, can’t think of a thing…), processes beginning with X (X-rays – had a lot of those over the years) and so on but to come up with a suitable and acceptable post about the letter X I have decided to give you a (very) potted linguistics lesson instead.

Did you know that the prefix “xylo-” denotes that what follows is to with wood? I didn’t until I did my research for this post! For example, I knew that a xylophone was a musical instrument made out of wooden bars, but I didn’t really appreciate that the word is a mashup of “xylo” meaning wood, and “phone” meaning sound. I kind of knew it, but I didn’t kind of know it, if you get me? I just found out that the word for printing using wooden blocks is “xylotypgraphic”. Another one for you is “xylophilus” meaning a lover of wood, and finally, my favourite new word EVER is “xylomancy” meaning divination using wood. Brilliant!

Whilst researching this post I couldn’t really ignore the “xeno-” prefix because apart from there being so many of them in the dictionary, the only long word I could think of (pre-research) was “xenophobia”. I didn’t really think you’d be interested in a whole post about that word, but I couldn’t really leave it out neither. It’s another mashup, this time of “xeno” meaning “something/one strange or foreign” and “phobia” meaning “fear of”. I knew what the phobia part was (obviously) but the xeno part was new to me. There are a couple of words that stand out from the list of xenos that I want to share with you: “xenomania” an attachment to something foreign or strange; “xenogenous” meaning due to an outside cause and finally, “xenolith” meaning a fragment of extraneous rock embedded in magma or another rock. I knew that a monolith was a single rock but never really appreciated that “lith” would mean rock…but there again, I’m a bit dopey sometimes!

I managed to avoid a rant discussion about the X-Factor (yay me!) and I also managed having to write about eXcite, the indoor ski-centre near here as well so kudos to the Pamster for researching – and learning – something new for this post today.

That is one of the main reasons why I started blogging in the first place, to learn new things, so I can honestly say that today is MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!

Just as an aside, I have got my subject for tomorrow (the letter Y) but I’ve only got 2 days to think up/research the letter Z. I don’t want to rely on writing about the zebra, so any ideas from you dear reader would be most welcome.

Thank you!



10 thoughts on “X is for ….X?

Add yours

  1. Xylo – excellent pub quiz material, because it sounds nothing like it is. Though perhaps it’s obvious to people who learned Latin at school (not me).
    You didn’t mention X-certificate – which I suppose doesn’t really exist anymore. By coincidence, I’ll be revealing a slightly embarrassing encounter with it over the weekend.


  2. My father played piano; the band always practiced at our house and I was fascinated by the xylophone. I would sit outside under the window and listen for hours.

    How ’bout zenith, zero or zest for the Z word?

    Blessings – Maxi


    1. I can play the xylophone and it has a gorgeous tone. Thank you for your suggestions for Z too. I like the idea of “zenith”, especially as it’s the end of the challenge. Hmmm *strokes chin thoughtfully*, you have given me food for thought!


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