English Words in Action, Group X

(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)

English vocabulary quizzes in random order from easy to more difficult for greater word skills.

Simply click on this banner (or the following link) and you will be on your way to stimulate your brain for greater word comprehension with quizzes based on some of the words in this unit.

X, x (EKS) (noun); X's, x's (pl)
1. The 24th. letter of the English alphabet often used to indicate something that is not known or not learned: Alisa wrote a large X instead of a formal signature because she didn't know how to write her name.
2. Etymology: the use of the letter x to indicate "unknown quantity" goes back to the French philosopher-mathematician Rene Descartes, who introduced x, y, z, and such usage into the mathematical discourse proceeding from an originally Arabic paradigm (standard or typical example).

By the 18th century, the usage was extended from math to everyday language, and X in the sense of "unknown person" has been in our language ever since.

The term x-rays was used by its discoverer, Wilhelm Roentgen, because their nature and sources were unknown.

XL (s) (noun) (no plural)
An abbreviation meaning "extra large": The term XL is usually used to identify clothing sizes.
X-rated (EKS-RAYT'd) (adjective) (not comparable)
A designation indicating that the language or scenes, etc. of a media or live production may be offensive: X-rated language is heard too often on certain talk-show programs and it interferes with the listener's concentration on whatever viewpoint the vulgar speaker is trying to present.

Primarily a reference to a movie which is considered not suitable to be seen by people under the age of 17 in the U.S. and under 18 in the United Kingdom because of violence, offensive language, or sexual activity.

XS (s) (noun) (no plural)
A short term meaning "extra small": An XS is a symbol that is presented to specify clothing sizes.

Links to all of the groups of English words in action, Groups A to Z.

You may see the bibliographic list of sources of information for these words in action.