Leela: You're blackmailing me?
There's always something about the letter X that just makes anything cool (including this article). A lot of people use it gratuitously on a name, product, model, etc. just so it as some sort of edge to it. Want some pizzazz? Add an X somewhere in the name. It doesn't matter where, as long as there's an X. And it has to be a capital X. Lowercase x is just too puny to be cool. Just don't add 3.
In order for this trope to work, though:
- The product isn't the 10th installment of a series that already used Roman numerals.
- On the other hand, if the series goes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, X...
- The X doesn't stand for a multiple of something. Example would be AMD's line of processors: Athlon X2, Phenom X3, Phenom X4, etc. (They denote how many cores there are.)
- There's no real justification to use the X. Another letter would easily work if the X was a part of a word.
- If it's in the designation of a vehicle or other object, it can't be a prototype. In such cases it stands for experimental, and gets changed or removed when it enters full production.
- Though it does add that extra bit of coolness to a Super Prototype, we admit.
- Similar to the above, the X in question is used as an abbreviation in an acronym for a word in English that has the ex- prefix, which would properly use E, but X looks cooler, of course.
and Xtreme Kool Letterz
, for tropes that make use of this. See also, Let X Be the Unknown
. Not to be confused with [A Metasyntactic Variable As Portrayed In This Case By X] Makes Anything Cool
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Anime and Manga
- Speed Racer has Racer X. And later named a child "X".
- Sonic X, but we all know that Sonic is cool anyway.
- X, an anime made by CLAMP. Then they went overboard and became ×××HOLiC... (The xxx is silent, it denotes a variable in Japanese. The English would be ___holic.)
- The working title for Pokémon 2000 movie was Pokémon X, and in fact there is a faint X shape in the final version poster/cover of the Japanese version.
- That explains why Lugia is referred to as 'Mystery Pokémon X' in a Johto miniarc.
- Gundam X, though it didn't quite work...
- Justified, though, in that the titular Gundam's wing binders open up in the shape of an X when it deploys its Satellite Cannon.
- The Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha franchise gave us Striker S Sound Stage X. Confused some people into thinking that this was the tenth Sound Stage (it was the eleventh, excluding the Megami Sound Stages). The X stood for the Mysterious Waif.
- The titular character from B't X is a mechanical kirin, famous for being the most powerful battler of the villainous Machine Empire. Fortunately, he decides to help the hero...
- While they haven't yet appeared in the show, the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game has the X-Sabers and their beefed-up cousins, the XX-Sabers. I hate to see what they do with the third installment of the monster series.
- Also the most probable reason for 4Kids deciding to pronounce the previously silent X in Yu Gi Oh ZEXAL
- Cannon God Exaxxion has not one, but three Xs. They explain later that the XXX marks that are stamped all over the title robot aren't really Xs at all, but rather the last letter of the alphabet used by the aliens who created it. XXX is their generic symbol for an antimatter reactor, as the letter has similar connotations to the Greek letter Omega.
- Planet X in Transformers Cybertron.
- The Girls Love manga Hayate X Blade (where the X is pronounced "cross".)
- The newest chapters of Bleach deal with an organization called Xcution.
- Romeo X Juliet, where the X is still intended to be pronounced "and".
- This is the basis behind the name of X-Brawn in Transformers: Robots in Disguise. It was for a whole thought that X-Brawn was used because Hasbro couldn't secure a trademark on 'Brawn', but one of their marketers later explained that they just put in the X too look cool.
- Mysterious Girlfriend X. Extra-strange because the X doesn't seem to mean anything (the "mysterious girlfriend" has an actual name).
- X-Men. Because ex-men just doesn't sound cool enough.
- But for some reason, Ex-Mutants was...or maybe not.
- Stan Lee wanted to call it "The Mutants," but Executive Meddling (this was The Sixties, he wasn't an executive yet) prevailed. He was told that nobody would know what a mutant was. "But they would know what an "X-Man" is?" fell on deaf ears.
- X-Men spinoffs have driven this so far into the ground it's punched right through the planet.
- Wolverine has a villain called Mister X.
- And of course Wolverine is Weapon X. (These days, it's the Roman numeral, making him the tenth 'weapon' created by the Super Soldier project. Captain America is Weapon I. But that's a retcon created recently in the scheme of things.)
- Moira MacTaggert's prisoner, the mysterious Mutant X, who turned out to be her son, aka Proteus. The name was dusted off in the 90s for the comic book starring Havok trapped in a Parallel Universe, and an unrelated TV series Marvel had some hand in (Alphas is sort of a Spiritual Successor.)
- The former MPAA rating X, now essentially synonymous with pornography.
- xXx, starring Vin Diesel. xXx's real name is Xander Cage, so the xXx tattooed on his neck could be his initial repeated three times. However, after he steals an anti-game senator's sports car and drives it off a bridge so he can BASE jump off it in the opening scenes, Samuel L. Jackson's character suggests the three X's could also mean three "strikes" against the law.
- X-Wings in Star Wars. But then again the Rebel Alliance has a habit of naming their fighters after random letters because the crafts supposedly look like that letter.
- X-Wings and Y-Wings actually do, A- and B-Wings are stretching it. But the Star Wars universe uses the Aurebesh script, so it's interesting that they should name ships after Latin characters from a galaxy far, far away.
- The extended universe has canonized the Latin alphabet as the "High Galactic Alphabet", so "X" is not only cool for being an uncommon letter, but also for being a letter in a more-elegant-than-standard script.
- One parody had "P-Wings", whose wings were shaped like, well, guess. Also a Super Mario Bros. reference.
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Film of the Book is acronymed LXG. Why? Just because.
- Advertisements for Malcolm X often featured simply a lone "X" logo. This actually backfired a bit on them because you cannot trademark a letter, so the filmmakers could not claim a cut from knock-off merchandise.
- Agnes Nitt, a young woman in the Discworld novels, desperately tries to acquire some cool by (briefly) assuming the name Perdita X Dream, where "X" stands for "someone who has a cool and exciting middle name." Doesn't work though — all the people in her village refer to her as "the Agnes who calls herself Perditax."
- In Unseen Academicals, we find that Dr. Hicks, head of Post-Mortem Communications at Unseen University first introduced in Making Money, has started spelling his last name Hix because "a man who wears a black robe with nasty symbols on it and has a skull ring would be mad, or let us say even madder, to pass up the chance to have an X in his name."
- In Craig Charles' The Log, he advises any heroes in a movie, when confronted with the villain's office full of filing cabinets, to go straight for the one labelled 'X'. "No evil mastermind has ever named his plan to Take Over the World 'Project W', guys."
- The Echthroi in Madeleine L'Engle's book A Wind in the Door have the power to unmake elements of creation, a process referred to as Xing.
- Daniel X
- In The Pendragon Adventure, the biggest competition in Quillain's existence is the Grand X.
Live Action TV
- The TV show Wormhole X-Treme! within Stargate SG-1.
Martin: Research says that shows with "X" in the name get higher ratings.
- Starfleet designates experimental starships' line number with NX, instead of the usual NCC. Unfortunately, NX is changed to NCC as soon as the model enters common use.
- Every proper noun in the language of Neelix's species, the Talaxians, contains an X somewhere.
- In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, the Transformation Sequence includes three Xs (and a V) because Gokaiger is the 35th Super Sentai series.
- Disney XD, or "eXtremely Digital". That's right, little boys, Disney is cool now and totally not just for girls.
- Most Extreme Elimination Challenge or just MXC. Don't get eliminated!
- The X-Files: However, there is a really cool explanation. They might have been called The U-Files for "unsolved" but weren't thanks to the filing system at the FBI in the 50's.
Clerk Bahnsen: It's in an X-file.
Agent Dales: An "X-file"?
Clerk Bahnsen: Yes, unsolved cases. I file them under "X".
Agent Dales: Why don't you file them under "U" for "unsolved"?
Clerk Bahnsen: That's what I did until I ran out of room. Plenty of room in the "X"s.
- Kamen Riders X, ZX, and Black RX.
- X Japan was originally just named just X. They changed their name when they gained international recognition because there was already a punk band in the USA called X.
- In the opposite direction, for a few years in the 1990s British band Bush was known as Bush X in Canada, because a Canadian band from the 1970s still owned the name there.
- British group Liberty X added their X for similar reasons, after being formed from a TV talent show's runners-up as plain 'Liberty'. This was a permanent change, though, as the name was contested within the UK, rather than being a monicker-of-convenience temporarily adopted abroad.
- Progressive metal group Symphony X.
- Brand X.
- Rapper and sometimes Riddick-antagonist Xzibit.
- Don't overlook his signature song that goes "X! (untz-untz-untzuntz) X! (untz-cont'd)"
- The band The xx
- Hardcore Punk and Metallic Hardcore bands (particularly those of the Straight Edge persuasion): X's drawn or tattooed on hands are common fashion and often incorporated into band names as well (examples include xDeathstarx, xTyrantx and xLooking Forwardx).
- The ur-example is Los Angeles punk band X, led by John Doe and Exene Cervenka.
- Gibson Guitar Corporation created the mixedly-received Firebird X, an electric guitar with digital effects and other futuristic additions. Granted, the previous Firebird models are defined with roman numerals (Firebird I, II, III, V, VII and XII) but there never was a VI, VIII or IX. Neither was there XI making the XII and X most probably this trope..
- Industrial and EBM bands are fond of this trope. We have X-RX, X-Fusion (and Noisuf-X), Studio-X, XP8, H.E.X.E., among others. Even bands that don't strictly fit this trope still make frequent use of Xtreme Kool Letterz.
- Mega Man X. This may have caused confusion, as the American release used Roman Numerals to denote the title while Japan used Arabic numbers. So to Japan, Mega Man X was just a name. To Americans, they might have thought this was the tenth Mega Man game (though this was Jossed long before the release of Mega Man 10).
- X-Blades, for no real reason.
- Dance Dance Revolution recently joined in the group of games with an X: Dance Dance Revolution X. Although there is some meaning to it as it was released during the game's tenth anniversary.
- Some of the MAX series of songs like to throw in an extra X: Max X Unlimited, Fascination MAXX, and the supposed dummied song MAX to the XX Ximum.
- Not to be confused, of course, with Revolution X, the only Arcade Game to run on Midway's "X-unit" board.
- Metal Slug X and Metal Slug XX, which were remakes of Metal Slug 2 and Metal Slug 7.
- Microsoft Flight Simulator X, the tenth game in the series. All previous Flight Simulator games were named after the year they were released.
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl is titled Dairantou! Smash Bros X in Japan. Melee was also DX, short for DeluXe.
- Thanks to the 4-character limit in Final Fantasy on the NES, X-Zone was named XXXX. X-Zone also appears in Final Fantasy VI.
- On the subject of the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy X-2 probably counts as an aversion, as the X still stands for "ten", the game that X-2 is a direct sequel to. Yes, this means there are two layers of numbering on this game; what's your point?
- Guilty Gear X and XX.
- Paper Mario has the X-Nauts.
- And the X-Yux (supposedly pronounced "cross-yux"). Or just the Yux in general.
- Pokemon XD, even if it is a Meaningful Name.
- In Metroid Fusion, the alien baddies were named 'X'. These were so Badass, the old ones had to create a bioweapon to stop it, which was then stolen and used to terrorize the galaxy.
- 4X strategy games. They should actually be Four E strategy games, but X is cooler.
- Every member of the Organization XIII in the Kingdom Hearts series have an X in their names in a form of Theme Naming — their names are an anagram of their original name, plus an X. Some of these work fairly well like Dilan becoming Xaldin, but some like Axel just seemed to raise questions and eyebrows. Even when his real name was revealed to be the slightly feminine looking Lea (pronounced Lee to mitigate that) in 358/2 Days. The exception is Xemnas, who stole the name Ansem before his transformation. His original self was named Xehanort, which, if the X is removed, can make "no heart" and "another"
- The Japan-only Game Boy game X and its DSiWare sequel X-Scape
- The DSiWare game Photo Dojo, known as Photo Fighter X in Japan.
- In Xenosaga, the character KOS-MOS (she's a robot...imagine that) has a development code of KP-X.
- The Japanese version of Super Street Fighter II Turbo is called Super Street Fighter II X (likely changed due to the fact that the letter X could be confused with the roman numeral for ten). This is the reason why the letter "X" appears when a Super Combo is used in the Game Boy Advance version, as well as why the "Super Turbo"-like fighting style in Street Fighter Alpha 3 is called "X-ism".
- Command & Conquer: The First Decade has an X superimposed in the box art. Of course, it makes sense, but you know....
- Early 90s arcade shooter Xexex, which also has the benefit of being a palindrome.
- The final boss music from Touhou Hisoutensoku is Unknown X, Unfound Adventure.
- When Phoenix Wright gets a cold, his favorite brand of cold medicine is called Cold Killer X. Note, this only applies to the localization. In the original Japanese version, it was called Cold Killer Z.
- Daniel Remar likes to use the Roman "X" instead of "10" in his games for this reason.
- Sega's 32X system.
- The early online adapter for the Genesis and the SNES, the XBAND.
- In the mid-90s, a reader of Electronic Gaming Monthly who noticed this phenomenon wrote a letter to the editors asking what the deal was. EGM responded with a sarcastic, dismissive remark, because at the time, EGM responded to every letter with a sarcastic, dismissive remark.
- Before its release, the code name of the first Playstation was PS-X, short for PlayStation-eXperimental. Later, Sony released a digital video recorder with integrated Playstation and Playstation 2 hardware, called PSX.
- The PSX...err, PS1 games 1Xtreme, 2Xtreme, and 3Xtreme. Supposedly they are a combination of racing and eXtreme sports, as in rollerblades and skateboards.
- Playboy X
- X-Com. It stands for "eXtraterrestial COMbat unit". And sounds extremely cool.
- Egosoft's X-Universe, an entire series which gets its name from the player's ship in X: Beyond the Frontier: The Xperimental Shuttle.
- Protoform X in Beast Wars.
- Along with Cheetor's line that the pod was branded with "a big, bad-lookin' X!"
- Planet X in the Duck Dodgers cartoons.
- The Powerpuff Girls were brought to life and given their ultra-super powers via Chemical X. In one episode Mojo Jojo removes their powers using Antidote X.
- Teen Titans features a villain named Red X. Although he does utilise a variety of tools with an "X" motif, the design of the tools would entirely depend on the user's taste, so the trope still applies.
- "X Agent" from Sheep in the Big City. The trope was parodied in his first appearance:
I don't want an "X Agent"! I want a current
agent! Private Public:
The "X" is put in to indicate mysteriousness rather than his job status sir. General Specific:
Well why can't he choose another letter? Like "K"? Private Public:
"K" isn't as mysterious a letter as "X", sir. General Specific:
What about "L"? "L" is pretty mysterious! [waving fingers]
Llllllllllllll...Lllllllll!!! Narrator: So, as General Specific re-acquaints himself with the alphabet...
- Johnny Test has Johnny X.
- Dimension X from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987), which is alternately described as a distant spiral galaxy or an alternate dimension.
- xkcd. According to Word of God, it doesn't stand for anything, it's chosen to make it difficult to pronounce, and of course because it's cool. And yes, it's official spelling is with all lowercase, or possibly all uppercase if that is not usable for some reason. Xkcd is frowned upon.
- Well, Xykon from The Order of the Stick certainly thinks so.
- The operating system UNIX. Originally it was Unics, a pun on "Multics".
- The X Window System for UNIX and Linux (which includes x-terminal, x-clock, etc). Justified—it's predecessor was "W", as in windowing.
- Windows XP. The XP stands for eXPerience, possibly because someone at Microsoft Central had been playing Dungeons & Dragons.
- XML (eXtensible Markup Language) and related standards, such as XHTML, XSL (including XSLT and XSL-FO), XForms, XPath, XQuery, XLink, XPointer, and so on.
- On a side note, there's actually an older, unrelated XForms(a GUI toolkit), which is completely justified since it was ported from IrisGL to X11.
- Of course, hardware names can't be avoided either:
- The XT, ATX, BTX, and DTX motherboard design standards. The X supposedly means eXtended.
- The PCI slot had an upgraded cousin, the PCI-X slot (again, meaning eXtended).
- When PCI-Express came about, people thought PCI-X meant that. PCI-Express's unofficial bbreviation is PCIe.
- ATI/AMD and NVIDIA all have an X card, even though ATI/AMD stopped this moniker a while ago. For NVIDIA, the X moniker means it's the high end card, usually marketed to gamers.
- The graphics card company XFX, which also slaps on XXX when one X isn't enough for their souped up graphics cards. So you end up with cards like the "XFX GeForce 9800 GTX XXX edition."
- Intel uses XE for the "Extreme Edition" processors (it was formerly EE) and, with their part numbers sporting an X. Any high-end chipset also sports an X.
- Intel also has the Xeon line of processors.
- AMD is guilty of the X moniker. Their old lineup of high performance processors was the FX series. Their chipsets also have an X at the end for the high end models.
- Corsair has its XMS brand of memory.
- The codenames for the Xbox 360's processor and GPU are the Xenon and Xenos, respectively. The PlayStation 3's GPU is the RSX.
- Creative Lab's X-Fi, for eXtreme Fidelity!
- And some actual computer models:
- Dell's eXtreme Performance System, or XPS. EPS wouldn't be a great marketing name, would it? They also pretty much tacked it on to every computer they have
- IBM PC-XT.
- Gateway's high end laptops: FX.
- Alienware has the M1#X and the ALX series of computers.
- Pixel, which stands for picture elements. Which one is koolernote : 1280x768 picel, or 1280x768 pixel?
- ESX stands for Elastic Sky, apparently. (V Mware server virtualization product.)
- Products that for some reason go from version "9" into version "X". Roman numerals + Xtreme Kool Letterz = Rule of Cool.
- Mac OS X. All previous Mac OS's were numbered using Arabic numbers.
- The new version of QuickTime included with OS X Snow Leopard is so Xtreme that it skipped from version 7 to version X.
- The ATi X series of video chipsets, which came after the 9000 series.
- Paint Shop Pro, made by Jasc and then bought by Corel, originally used 1-8 for its version numbers. When Corel bought it, it went from 8 to IX. Then came X, then XI. As the switch happened with 9, not 10, one might be inclined to think this might not be a case of Xtreme Kool Letterz... until the 12th version came out as "X2".
- Partly from superstition about the number 13, and partly so they could have cool letter in its name, the thirteenth version of Wordperfect Office is called X3. (And who is this WP Office owned by? Do we see a pattern here?)
- Adobe in early 2011, released their tenth version of their PDF reader. They also invoked this trope by calling it Adobe Reader X.
- Microsoft's "DirectX" and "ActiveX" APIs. What does the X convey about the product, exactly? actual answer
- The Xbox falls under this trope as well. Microsoft realized that "DirectX Box" just didn't sound all that catchy. The Xbox is, essentially, just a computer with streamlined DirectX support, one of the reasons why it and its successor are touted as being "developer friendly."
- The X.500 cryptography standards. Supposedly this is shorthand for Public Key Infrastructure, which is shortened to PKIX.
- Various car manufacturers attach an X somewhere in their car names.
- The hatchback versions of the Honda Civic have an X attached at the end. DX and RX are their most common models.
- Mazda's line of sports cars sport an X such as the Miata (MX-5) and the RX-7 and RX-8.
- Ford has an XLT version of its F-150 line of trucks.
- And for years Ford had a compact car called a "ZX_", peaking in 2005-06 when every USDM Focus model had such a designation (ZX3-3 door hatchback, ZX5-5 door hatchback, ZX4-sedan, ZXW-wagon).
- Acura's compact hot-hatch is the RSX. Its three SUV models are the MDX, the RDX, and the ZDX. Its new entry level sedan is the ILX. And of course its sports car was the NSX. A new NSX model is coming around 2015.
- Nissan and its 180SX/240SX (depending on where you live)
- Subaru Impreza WRX
- Vespa mostly uses this straight, but inverts it in the LX series; The series was launched in 60th anniversary of the (Italian) company, and LX is Roman numerals for 60.
- Julius Caesar's most trusted elite unit was the 10th legion, which in Latin had the full name Legio X Equestris. His successor Augustus later created the Legio X Fretensis after Caesar's famous legion, making this trope Older Than Feudalism. Both legions happened to become famous in history. The Equestris was one of the most important units in the conquest of Gaul. In the Year of Four Emperors, the commander of the Fretensis, which happened to fight a massive uprising in Judaea at the time, split his forces and put an end to the power struggle in Rome and became Emperor Vespasian, while at the same time his son Titus continued to fight the Jewish rebels. Titus led the still famous Siege of Masada and became the first son of an Emperor who succeeded his father to the throne. Later the legion was part of the army led by Trajan against the Persians, who also happened to become emperor.
- The U.S. military enjoys putting X in front of every eXperimental weapon name, along with the usual M. The XM16E, XM29, XM25, and XM8 are some recent examples (well not the XM16E).
- All the experimental aircraft from the Bell X-1 (first supersonic aircraft) to the Grumman X-29 (forward-swept wings) — assuming they didn't skip numbers or that there aren't any others. Also, the XB-70 "Valkyrie" bomber as well as others.
- The X games, even if X is supposed to be for eXtreme.
- Out of all the letters in the alphabet to choose for the default variable in anything, why does "x" have to be it?
- X-rays. "Roentgen rays" just doesn't have the right sound to it.
- In Germany, they're actually called like that: Röntgenstrahlen.
- In Sweden, they're called Röntgenstrĺlar.
- They're called "Röntgen rays" in roughly half the languages in the world (and "X-rays" in the rest, of course), so it's not the most valid example out there.
- Reportedly, Prof. Wilhelm Röntgen, the very discoverer of such rays, actually preferred the term "X" over his own name for the then newly found type of radiation.
- Tokyo X, a breed of pig that is known for its quality meat...or a Japanese rock band.
- The EX-F1, an amateur-made rail gun.
- Malcolm Little, who became Malcolm X based on the practice of Nation of Islam converts rejecting their "slave names" and replacing their surnames with X until they earned an new name through a pilgrimage.
- David X. Cohen, a writer for Futurama. When he joined the Writer's Guild, he found his birth name, David S. Cohen, had already been taken, and the Guild has a strict "No Duplicate Names" rule for various legal reasons, so he chose the middle initial X because it sounded sci-fi. If asked what X stands for, he'll often say it just stands for X.
- Planet X, the name of a hypothetical planet in the far outer solar system. Not only sounded cool, but had the "X the unknown" thing and would also have been the 10th planet, this being before the discovery of the Kuiper belt and that business with Pluto.
- Dubai Airport is written as DXB in all shortened forms such as on plane tickets and on arrivals timings.
- Practically any time a word starting with "ex-" is shortened for an acronym, the letter X is used, instead of E.
- "Christmas" is often abbreviated as "Xmas" in writing, as the Greek letter Chi, which looks like X, is the first letter of Xristos (Χρἰστος), Greek for "Christ".
- And also, X for "Cross", such as ped xing.
- Exxon. It doesn't mean anything, it doesn't stand for anythingnote , it was chosen because it was a) distinctive, b) not already trademarked, and c) sounded cool.
- JAXA: the Japan Aerospace eXploration Agency. Sounds a lot better than JAEA, doesn't it? And it doesn't hurt that it rhymes with NASA.
- On the stock market front, the Toronto Stock Exchange recently changed its initials from TSE to TSX for this simple reason.
- The short lived XFL, a particularly good example in that unlike some of the others, the X didn't stand for eXtreme—it was just an X.
- A Norwegian 6-year old forced his parents to deliver a letter he wrote to the King of Norway, asking for permission to change his name to Sonic X.
- The name Robert X. Cringely, well-known in tech circles, was entirely made up by InfoWorld magazine to provide some continuity for one of their columns, which would otherwise have been attributed to a string of short-lived writers. However, one Mark Stephens picked up the column and gained much fame with the Cringely name in the '90s. InfoWorld fired Stephens in 1995 and still has other writers filling in as "Cringely," but let him use the name outside of competing magazines as a settlement.
- Brazilian entrepreneur Eike Batista names all of his companies '**X' (EBX, MMX, OGX, MPX, LLX...), because he wants to "multiply wealth".
- Axe Body Spray. They wanted a different name for its UK distribution, so they went with "Lynx," presumably by the time-honored method of "Are there any other short, manly-sounding words with X in them?"
- Sometimes, expressway name abbreviations are written in this way. One example is in Baltimore, where Interstate 83 terminates as the "Jones Falls Expressway" (JFX).