Usually, four letter words make parents jump to cover their children’s ears, but what about four letter words that begin with X? You might be surprised how many four-letter words there are in the English language that begin with the letter X, and the unique meanings, history, and usage of these words! Words that utilize and begin with the letter X can earn you a few extra points in a hard-fought game of Scrabble, and can be the key to unlocking tricky crossword puzzles, so pay attention to some of these trivia morsels! Here are just a few of those special four letter words.
Definition: The name of a Sabine or fork-tailed gull. It is a small gull that migrates south in the fall and that breeds in the Arctic. This gull has a charcoal gray head and beak, white underbelly, and light gray feathers. It is considerably smaller than seagulls that frequent US coasts.
History: The xeme is a Sabine gull that gets its name from Edward Sabine, an Irish scientist and explorer who studied them at length. Known most for his work on pendulums, Sabine’s less notable scientific accomplishments involve his examination of the xeme in Greenland.
Sample Usage: The Arctic researchers spent months examining the breeding habits of the xeme, noting its nesting and feeding habits in particular.
Definition: The capital of a central Chinese province known as Shaanxi.
History: This was the capital of two of the most powerful Chinese dynasties, the H’an and Tang dynasties. The city was previously called Changan.
Sample Usage: We travelled deep into China, and explored the riches in Xian, stopping to admire the rich histories of the empires that reigned there hundreds of years before.
Definition: The informal abbreviation for the term “crossing.”
History: The term Xing is used most often on street signs, indicating a variety of crossings. It is not used in formal writing styles and everyday writing. It is designed to take up less space on such signs.
Sample Usage: We slowed our speed considerably and became more cautious after we noticed the “Deer Xing” signs posted all the way down the wooded lane.
Definition: Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, often celebrated among most Christians on December 25th.
History: Christmas has been referred to Xmas since the mid-16th century. The “X” in Xmas originally referred to x, the Greek letter chi, which is the initial word for “Christos,” or Christ, in Greek. In recent generations, Xmas is used much more controversially, because some claim that it attempts to remove “Christ” from “Christmas.” Xmas is often used as a form of shorthand for Christmas, and is not commonly used in formal forms of writing.
Sample Usage: We simply cannot prepare for Christmas early enough, as we need to begin purchasing gifts, wrapping, decorating our Xmas tree, and baking as early as December 1st!
Definition: A long open portico used for a variety of sporting events, like track, wrestling, etc., especially in inclement weather.
History: In ancient Greece and Rome, a xyst, like a promenade, was an architectural element of any covered portico. It was often a garden walkway, lined with beautiful trees and flowers.
Sample Usage: As we studied art history, we dedicated much time to the examination of Greek and Roman architecture, and much enjoyed the renderings of tree-lined xysts and elegant columns.
In addition to these words, many Roman numerals, including XIII (13 in Arabic numbers), XXII (22), XXIV (24) are only four letters but can go a long way in a crossword puzzle. These terms are a unique blend of words, all beginning with one of the most unique letters in the English alphabet! Here’s to four letter words that begin with X!