Finding the Value of X

Don’t worry, I’m not going to wax mathematical, and particularly not algebraic. But really, what is the value of X in our language?

You may have wondered, when I began this alphabetical journey, what I would do with X . I admit I wondered, as well. It’s a problem that I’m sure most alphabetographers struggle with. (You may not find the word alphabetographer in the dictionary, although I did find alphabetography online, but it seems to describe a writer of alphabet books quite nicely, in my opinion. 😉 )

I inherited two dictionaries from my parents. One was Dad’s. The copyright date is 1936, although in 1941 it was updated with a new words section. The other is two large volumes: The New Grolier Webster International Dictionary of the English Language, encyclopedic edition. It has many appendices, but the main event, the words and definitions, covers 1158 pages.

The newer one has a smidgen over one page for the letter X. Dad’s older dictionary also only has a smidgen over one page for X.

So at first glance, it would seem that X has little value.

But let’s take a closer glance. If it weren’t for X, how would treasure maps mark the spot? How would football coaches illustrate plays? How would kids play tic-tac-toe (which my childhood friends and I called x’s and o’s)? How would we seal things with a kiss?

Without X, we’d never exceed expectations. Nothing would be exciting. Lawyers would be inhibited from producing exhibit A at a trial. There’d be no excuse for forgotten homework. Drivers would miss a lot of exits. And a lot of algebraic formulas would never be solved.

X is for X, which turns out to be a letter of great value after all. If you’d like to learn a little more about X, check out this blog post on

As a teaser for next week, I think you’re going to say YAY when you see my Y post. Until then,


2 thoughts on “Finding the Value of X”

    1. Thanks, Diane! It’s interesting that one little game can have so many names! I’d forgotten about it also being called naughts and crosses. Thanks for the reminder!

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