Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Why is "x" used for so many things?

I was watching Airline and noticed on the board that they had designated a cancelled flight at “CNCLX”, the “X” obviously standing in for the -elled portion of the rest of the word.  That got me thinking about all the other uses of “x”

  • lax — apparently can mean “lacrosse”.  Also means “Los Angeles International Airport.”  Can also mean “Latin American Exchange” (ok, I only found this when I looked it up on Wikipedia, I swear)  Also has a definition by itself when it’s not standing in for other things.
  • tx — apparently can stand for “transmit” (look at a 2–way radio or ask a friendly police officer).  Also an abbreviation for “Texas.”  Apparently it also means “thanks” in that goofy SMS-speak.  There’s even more on Wikipedia.
  • rx — apparently can stand for “receive” (see my notes above for “transmit”).  Also stands for “prescription” (ok, I have to admit that I’ve never understood why rx means prescription until I read the Wikipedia entry).

Seems like you could create your own language as long as the person/people on all sides of the conversations knew what the “x” was standing in for.

Perhaps I’ll become Rx, the person formally known as “Ross,” where “x” means “oss”; although I’d hate for people to think that my parents named me “prescription” or “receive,” so perhaps I won’t after all.

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