Ask someone to tell you a word that starts with "X," and you’ll likely get “xylophone” and “x-ray” followed by a blank stare, but ask anyone to tell you some adjectives that start with "X," and all you’ll get is the blank stare. They’re just not that common. They do exist; however, for the most part, they fall into one of four categories based on their Greek roots.
Xanth means “yellow,” so any time you see it in a word, it probably has something to do with the color.
Xen means “foreign,” so the following adjectives all have to do with strange, foreign, unnatural or non-native things.
Xer means “dry,” and although dryness is not necessarily what you think of when you make copies on a Xerox machine, the origin of the word is the same. In the 1930s, a New York patent attorney became frustrated with the lack of carbon copies available in the office for all the patents they were working on. He wanted to figure out a way to make copies that didn’t involve chemicals (as in photography). Photocopying is an electrical process, not a chemical one, so it doesn’t require the chemical baths needed to develop photographs. Thus, photocopying is a dry process – xerography or “dry writing.” Here are some adjectives based on the root, “xer:”
Xyl means “wood,” so all of the following adjectives have something to do with wood. Here’s where everyone’s favorite X-word comes in – xylophone.
Xylophones today are made of wood, metal, fiberglass or even gourds, but the word itself is derived from the fact that xylophones were originally made of wooden bars of various lengths.
Check out these "xyl" adjectives:
These adjectives may not be common or even very useful in average, everyday conversation; but, at least the next time someone asks you for an adjective that starts with X, you’ll be well prepared.
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