X Marks the spot

Rustling around in the box of books out in the garage and discovered this old one. No idea when or why it came into the house but look….it’ll be ideal for that challenge. You know the single word one I got myself into at the beginning of the year. There was I thinking X was going to be a hard one to find and it was sitting there right under my nose all the time!
Not sure about the genre though…..sci fi isn’t the norm here….but we’ll give it a go!

Thinking about the letter X – the third most rarely used letter in the English language- I found this online:-
X is typically a sign for the compound consonants [ks]; or sometimes when followed by an accented syllable beginning with a vowel, or when followed by silent h and an accented vowel [ɡz] (e.g. exhaust, exam); usually [z] at the beginnings of words (e.g. xylophone, Xenon), and in some compounds keeps the [z] sound, as in (e.g. meta-xylene). It also makes the sound [kʃ] in words ending in -xion (typically used only in British-based spellings of the language; American spellings tend to use -ction).
It can also represent the sounds [ɡʒ] or [kʃ], for example, in the words luxury and sexual, respectively. Final x is always [ks] (e.g. ax/axe) except in loan words such as faux (see French, below).
In abbreviations, it can represent “trans-” (e.g. XMIT for transmit, XFER for transfer), “cross-” (e.g. X-ing for crossing; XREF for cross-reference), “Christ” (e.g. Xmas for Christmas; Xian for Christian), the “Crys” in Crystal (XTAL), or various words starting with “ex” (e.g. XL for extra large; XOR for exclusive-or).
There are very few English words that start with X – the least amount of any letter. Many of the words that do start with X are either standardized trademarks (XEROX) or acronyms (XC).


Once you’ve read that you will realise X is an unusual letter to say the least….

Many people over 18 here in Australia would know of this though

XXXX (pronounced fourex) is a brand of Australian beer brewed in Milton, Brisbane by Queensland brewers, Castlemaine Perkins. It enjoys wide popularity in the state of Queensland and is commonly found on-tap in most Queensland pubs and bars.

Then theres that saying 
X marks the spot

Supposedly from British army officers pinning a piece of paper 
with X on it to the chest of someone about to be executed

But could also come from 
a myriad of places …..a game show

something the Hubble Telescope saw
even a spot on a map
(like a pirates’s treasure map)

but the our family is really interested in is this recently discovered one
The one The Golfer’s Great Grandmother Julia made
when she registered his Grandfather’s birth in 1878

These days we take reading and writing as a norm
but evidently from what we see on this copy of the birth certificate
Dh’s ancestor was unable to write her name
so made her mark (signature) with an X

I certainly hope she would be pleased with the standard of education available for all children these days whether they live in the city or country village as she did.

Have you made any new discoveries recently? Are you surprised to learn about lack of education in your family?

21 Replies to “X Marks the spot”

  1. I learn things all the time. I am never certain whether I should be ashamed of my ignorance (probably) or grateful for the opportunity.
    My forbears are a mystery to me, but I suspect that literacy was a late gain for them – as it was for many.


    1. Somehow EC I think many (especially females) didn’t get the chance to learn in their lifetime.
      Yes, ‘learn something new each day’ is what we should do…..


  2. I’ve had two “x/s”…aka “exes”..

    And, from the sun room of our house in the Brisbane suburb then known as “Torwood”, my then husband, later to be my ex, and I could see the XXXX neon sign atop the Castlemaine Perkins building in Milton, in the distance. (We also heard, while sitting in that same sun room, David Bowie when he performed at what was then known as “Lang Park”…now known as “Suncorp Stadium”! Fortunately, a few years later we got to see Bowie live in concert at the same venue! He was wonderful.

    An interesting post, Cathy…and…yes…already by reading it, I have learned something new today…and it’s still early! 🙂



    1. Hello Lee, were you close enough to get that brewery smelt wafting in through the window….maybe that only happens near English breweries.
      Luckily you (and the ex) to have free concerts right there in your sun room – why is the name Lang Park familiar to me….do they play rugby there?
      And I’m curious to know what you had learnt so early in the morning


      1. Yes, Cathy…Rugby League games were played at Lang Park…it is now known as Suncorp Stadium.

        I learned something new from reading this post of yours, Cathy! lol


  3. X is the best Scrabble letter. You can make ax, ex, ox, xi, and xu. In the right circumstance you can make over 50 points with just a letter X. I’m currently in the middle of a game against the computer and I have an X in my rack that I can’t wait to use.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And there I never even thought about it’s association with scrabble. You can tell I’ve never been a player- in fact if anyone mentions the word I offer to be the one to make/hand out the drinks & nibbles.
      Good luck with your latest game!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I won’t repeat what my father used to say about XXXX beer. I don’t know that it was so bad but it came from another state and Victorians would never drink interstate beer.


  5. My daughter had a childhood friend named Xan. Her mother was an aficionado of Greek mythology, and picked this one for her daughter. The pronunciation is Zan. But the mother never knew that, and so the little girl was called X-Ann. I always hoped some teacher would explain it to her.


    1. That’s a very simple name Joanne….no shortening that one. I vaguely knew a the x/z connection….how strange the mother didn’t know.


  6. If there is a major problem in our family, it is over education. I am the least educated of the lot that are still alive. The younger generations, have Masters and Doctorates by the dozen.

    Having said that, I flatter myself that I am educated though not with many qualifications.

    I discovered that I know more about somethings about my country than almost all of the rest of my family during a recent web meeting of the family! Not bad for an old reprobate what?


    1. That’s certainly true Ramana – life experience can provide more knowledge than all the bits of paper hung on the walls
      Not bad at all…..I wonder – will you let them forget😊

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have been more surprised to learn that my grandmother’s aunts(in the mid 19thcentury)went to college. I knew that my grandparents had in the early 20th, but certainly not the generation before them. Educating women clearly has mattered in my family.


  8. Well who knew that there was so much to know about X? I didn’t know about using it instead of the words trans and cross. I wonder what you will make of your X book- will it be like the X files? Isthere a generation x I wonder?
    My latest research into some old parish records has found my 18th century ancestors who signed their name with their mark X. Made me feel very humble.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We often see ‘rail x – crossing’ painted on a road way out in the bush where the train crosses the road without boom gates. Saves space….and paint!
      I’m saving that book until near the end Cathy….it’s fairly thick so I think it’ll take some time to read (and absorb)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Speaking (or writing) of inability to write, I meet an Aussie in London with surname Churn. His story of his surname was that his family are/were in fact tinkers with the name O’Driscoll (spelling unknown) when his illiterate grandfather got the opportunity to buy a piece of land in the New Forest (UK). When it came to signing the deeds, he copied a word off the side of a van parked nearby – which just happened to be a dairy van selling freshly churned butter.

    The literate among us these days are mainly oblivious to the devastating effect that illiteracy has on the modern human – especially in 2020 with so much emphasis on isolation, online communication and buying. A friend of mine specializes in teaching literacy to people challenged by traditional teaching methods, and her insights into the limitations on their lives and how they deal with or hide it is amazing (and saddening).

    Liked by 1 person

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