There are 122 entries that start with X in my 2,059 page Random House Dictionary of the English Language—the unabridged edition. It is half the size of my house. Admittedly, I do not live in a big house—but it is one whopping big dictionary.
There are only two pages of Xs in the book, with four entries dedicated to just X. My two favourites are:
1. “an unknown quantity or variable.”
2. “a sign used at the end of letters, telegrams etc., to indicate a kiss”
I am not sure why the first definition is a favourite, as I equate it with the point at which I started to no longer understand math. Give me fractions, decimals, long division, multiplication, division, even statistics—but once we got into 4 + x = y + 2, the game was over.
Now how much more sweet can a letter be that ends with the sign for a kiss? I love to see a bunch of xxxxxxxxxxxxxxs at the end of the very infrequent emails I get from my youngest son. So far, since he has been back at school I have received two emails from him—the first perfunctory and sensible, but the second melted my heart. (I, of course send him emails every day—is that the sound of a helicopter overhead?) I cannot share the second one with you, because then it would be grounds for killing me (and no judge would find him guilty).
But know that I have saved it, and look at it when I feel crummy. It was that good.