This week’s words: Xanadu, Xeric, X-ray.
Xanadu is a place of dreamlike magnificence and luxury as described by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his well-known poem, Kubla Khan. Whilst the word is not strictly an onomatopoeia, for those who know the poem, it conjures a picture of exactly what it describes. So, lacking any other example beginning with this obtuse letter, which occupies only 3 pages out of the 3742 that make up my 2 volume edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, I’ve resorted to a small touch of improvisation here.
Once again, the letter ‘x’ defeats most who list figures of speech and I can find none beginning with it. However, I can think of one potential word; ‘xeric’ describes an environment characterised by extreme dryness. So, ‘as xeric as the Atacama Desert’, could be used to describe a bar devoid of sustaining liquor for example. For those who are unaware, the Atacama Desert, in Chile is considered the driest place on Earth.
Collective Nouns: I can’t think of, nor can I find, an example of a collective noun that begins with ‘x’. So, here’s a challenge for those with the time and inclination to fill this void. Good luck!
Delusional Dictionary: X-ray: a much-abused term, applied to spectacles that falsely claim to provide the wearer with the ability to spy flesh beneath concealing clothing; a power associated with certain superheroes, providing them with an ability to penetrate opaque barriers with their vision; a medical advance believed by lay persons to provide clues to all hidden bodily ills.
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