My A2Z journey began with a funny experiment on the letter A. My post did not include “a” at all! When I thought of this concept, it seemed like I will never make it and I was kind of prepared to either post just few lines or give up the idea and write something more do-able! But I could get a decent amount of content written without using a single A. This motivated me to use the concept of alphabets and its origin in my future posts. I was able to write about the letter “J” and today being the X day, I am again going to try writing about that alphabet itself. Google is a great ocean of knowledge and being a weekend, I spend considerable amount of time trying to find bits and pieces on X. By writing/reading blogs, I am not only growing my network of friends but also learning about so many things which is very beneficial.

What is X and what does X represent?
The Greek letter Xi, from which our X developed, was originally based on a letter called ‘samekh’ in the Hebrew Phoenician alphabet, which represents a fish. Since it’s origin, X has been used in so many fields—from algebra, to genetics, to aerospace, to sex and also spirituality, X’s many many meanings have almost everything to do with the context that is associated with it. The X—or cross—symbolizes the very essence of evil. The letter, as signified by the skull and crossbones, portrays death or fatality. Yet it also represents virtue and eternal life as an abbreviation for Christ in Xmas.

Skull and X shaped cross bones
Christmas referred as Xmas!

Jonathon Green, a lexicographer in his writing on X, wittily remarks “X torments students of mathematics at all levels, from the common multiplication symbol in arithmetic to the more complicated X of algebraic equations!” There is a proper word for saying X-shaped and that is known as “decussate“! Let’s look at some of the known / unknown X factors below –

  1. X-rays were discovered and named by Wilhelm Röntgen in 1895
  2. The earliest reference in The Oxford English Dictionary to the use of ‘x’ for a kiss was in 1763 – xoxoxo!!
  3. the earliest use of the phrase ‘X Factor’ for an indefinable but important element was in 1930
  4. The use of ‘x’ as a multiplication sign was introduced by the English mathematician William Oughtred in 1631
  5. 3. The role of the ‘X Chromosome’, which is vital in human sex determination, was discovered by the American geneticist Clarence McClung in 1901
  6. The use of the letter X for adults-only films was proposed in 1950 in a government report
  7. X is used in Cartesian coordinate system to represent the horizontal entity, the x-axis of the x, y, and z
  8. X is used in marking ballot boxes to indicate a choice of candidate during elections
  9. We mark X on places on a map, to indicate the center, crossroad, or location of a mountain—as well as X marking the spot on a map where, presumably some hidden treasure was buried
  10. A crime scene is also marked by the letter X in a photograph or a map
  11. As a cross mark, X signifies an error or cancellation: so we have “X out,” “X off,” and “X over,” indicating the need for a re-do
  12. double-crossed” indicates being cheated or betrayed
  13. In clothes sizes, X means “extra,” as in “XS” for extra small, “XL” for extra large
  14. X-Files, in the cult hit TV series, represent mysterious, unsolved cases involving paranormal phenomena
  15. Vitamin X refers to the dance, clubbing, merry-making, drugs and ecstasy
  16. The famous keyboard shortcut for CUT is CTRL+X!!

I am sure this letter has many other X factors associated with it. I have developed a special respect towards this alphabet for X reasons! I hope you will also start looking at it from a different perspective after reading my post.

2 thoughts on “X-Factors!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Frederique. Its indeed amazing to learn about alphabets although we have already studied them all in our schools. 🙂 Have a great Sunday!


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