Words for the Week: X


Hello again, folks! Welcome to another episode of Words for the Week, which happens every Sunday. I have so many books full of great words, and I so rarely have an excuse to delve into them. So I’m putting together a small selection of these lovely words once a week, in the hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. This week’s words begin with ‘X’. 

Xenoglossia (noun): The Spontaneous use of a foreign language that the user has not heard before or learned. 

This is a fascinating phenomenon, usually in the context of a brain injury or religious experience. And it’s a good-sounding word, too. 

Xanthocomic (adjective): Yellow-haired.

I have no idea of the root of this word, but I would definitely like to. 

Xenium (noun): A gift made to a guest or ambassador; any compulsory gift. 

A love the fact that there’s a word for compulsory gifts. I can’t think of an example that won’t potentially make someone mad at me – but just know, I know this feel. 

Xenomancy (noun): Divination using strangers. 

Having done exactly zero research as I write this, I have no clue how this works, but I’m fascinated. Do you have to wait for visitors? Do you have to go out to a cafe or somewhere? I may have to look this up later. 

Xylography (noun): The art of engraving on wood. 

I suppose all arts must have a technical name, now that I think of it. But I particularly like this one, because it implies to me in ‘-graphy’ that there’s a kind of communication between artist and audience, which I think is super cool. 

This week’s words were sourced from Foyle’s Philavery, collected by Christopher Foyle; The Phrontistery.

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