Sunday, September 16, 2012

X is for...

(I may or may not return to the genealogy, the third post I mentioned. Right now I'm busy so I'm going for the easy out.)

a xebec

X is for X

Do you know that my very old dictionary which I still use even though the cover and the first couple of pages are missing (and the back cover is not in any great shape either and I'm pretty sure a couple of the pages are taped in), given to me by a neighbor (she owned a bookstore) as a high school graduation present (that would be 1968), only has one page of words for the letter X?

It begins with:

x n 1 a : the 24th letter of the english alphabet b : a graphic representation of this letter c : a speech counterpart of orthographic x  2 : TEN  3 : a graphic device for reproducing the letter x  4 : one designated x esp. as the 24th in order or class when order and class, the 23rd in order or class when j is not used, the 21st in order or class when j, v and w are not used or the first in an order or class that includes x, y and sometimes z  5 a : an unknown quantity  6 : something shaped like or marked with the letter X

and ends with:

xylotomy n : the art of preparing sections of wood for microscopic examination

in between are these:

xebec n : a usu. 3-masted Mediterranean sailing ship with long overhanging bow and stern

xeric adj : low or deficient in available moisture for the support of life

xiphoid adj 1 : shaped like a sword 2 : of, relating to, or being the xiphisternum (you're going to have to look that one up yourself)

xylan n : a yellow gummy pentosan present in plant cell walls and woody tissue

xylography n : the art of engraving on wood or of taking impressions from engravings so made

Now, don't you feel smarter?

PS. if you want to read all the alphabet entries, there is a link on my sidebar under 'stuff about me'.


  1. X-cellent! I do love the lines of the mediteranian sailing vessel!

  2. I'm sure these x words will come in handy any day now. Really, who needs more than a page of x words anyway.

  3. i had heard of xeric. that's it. :)

  4. I'm sure I had heard of Xylan, but I don't think I could have pulled it out of my head (or that other place either!).

  5. Well, of course there's the Xanax-taking xylophonist named Xerxes who was a bit xenophobic and....

    Oh, never mind. ;) Beautiful image of that boat.

  6. Lovely, a well worn dictionary is hard to give up.

  7. X got me like this too!

    (I think I cheated though)

  8. Ooh, I got me a new desktop picture--your sailing ship. I must confess, with some embarrassment, that I never pick up a real dictionary anymore, but rely exclusively on the computer. I've even tried to sell my old unabridged (a massive book indeed), but I guess most people are like me and don't use them anymore despite their greater aesthetic appeal.

  9. I know xylophone and your dictionary didn't!
    X-words, whatever for. This is English/American, after all.

    Congratulations on all the work that's come your way.

  10. Wow.. you graduated before they invented xylophones! ;)

    ducking the X (cross) look you're probably giving me.

  11. That was a fun read ellen. No kidding. Now the trick is to use one of those words in conversation tomorrow.

    I am either going to call Squirrel at college and drop one of the scientific words on her [at least she'll know what I mean] or I am going for something shaped like a sword.


  12. Interesting! I never realized that the "xylo" in "xylophone" comes from a root meaning wood -- which must be the case, based on the other words in your list.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.