Everyone knows the word “excellent” and its variations, but few people know much else about this peculiar letter. X is a strange letter indeed—so strange that it’s not even found in the English alphabet. The Greeks used it as a mark of their alphabet to indicate an unpronounceable sound called khi. Later on, it was adopted by other alphabets as a way to denote words with sounds not found in normal speech—like “xylophone” or “xerography.” So why does this weird little character have such an unusual place in our alphabet?
Let’s take a look at some of the stranger facts about the letter X.
X was originally a Greek word for "kiss."
The Romans added the X to their alphabet because it was the sound made when two people kissed. The Latin word for kiss, “favors,” became “favors” when transferred into English, and “favors” ended up as “favors.” The word “X-rated” is a play on “X,” being the Roman letter for kisses. It’s not just the Romans who used the letter X for kissing. The Greeks also used “X” to mean a kiss—this was a common practice in the ancient world, where people often carved Xs on wooden items to show that they had been kissed by the person who owned the item. X’s carved into wooden items have been found dating all the way back to the 13th century.
X has no standard place in the English alphabet.
Most languages put their letters in a specific order, but English isn’t one of them. The English alphabet is arranged in an order that doesn’t really make sense. X is commonly found at the beginning of the English alphabet in Eastern European languages such as Croatian and Hungarian. X is commonly found at the end of a language’s alphabet, like in Arabic and Persian. X’s position in the alphabet has more to do with the history of the language and culture than it does with any logic behind the placement of letters. X’s position in the English alphabet could be considered a muddle.
X is a popular letter for brands and trademarks.
X is the most popular letter for trademarks. The letter X is a highly recognizable letter, and the most common letters used to denote names of products and brands are the letters X and J. X is sometimes used when trademarking a word that also has a meaning that could be associated with the word, such as “xylophone” or “xerography.” X is also popular because it can’t be used in other trademarks. For example, if you use “J” as a trademark, another company could trademark “JJ” and create a product that competes with your trademarked product. Since “X” is the most common letter for trademarks, it’s the one that other companies are most unlikely to use for their products.
The letter X is mysterious, puzzling, and subtle. You can hardly find any positive words that start with X, but there are a lot of magical words! It’s a letter that doesn’t make a lot of sense but is still an essential part of our alphabet. X is an odd letter with no standard place in the English alphabet and is often used for branding and trademarks. The letter X is a difficult letter to love, but it’s certainly an interesting one.