"X" Makes Anything Cool

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This is the greatest letter in the world. Especially in Triplicate.

Leela: You're blackmailing me?
Bender: Blackmail is such an ugly word. I prefer 'extortion'. The 'X' makes it sound cool.

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 pizazz? 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.

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.

See 4X 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.

X-amples of X Makes Anything Cool include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Sonic X, but we all know that Sonic is cool anyway.
  • X, an anime made by CLAMP
    • Then they went overboard and became XXXholics...
      • 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 StrikerS 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".

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Deliberately invoked by Xykon in the Order of the Stick prequel Start of Darkness
  • X-Men. Because ex-men just doesn't sound cool enough.
    • But for some reason, Ex-Mutants was...or maybe not.
    • X-Men spinoffs have driven this so far into the ground it's punched right through the planet.
      • XTreme XMen being the ultimate offender
  • Wolverine has a villain called Mister X.
    • And of course Wolverine is Weapon X


Fan Fiction[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

  • The movie ratings X and XXX.
  • 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.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Agnes Nitt, a young woman in the Discworld novels, desperately tries to acquire some cool by (briefly) assuming the name Perdita X Dream.
    • "The X stands for 'someone who has a cool and exciting middle initial'."
    • In Unseen Academicals, we find that Dr. Hix "was the son of Mr and Mrs Hicks, but 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.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

Martin: Research says that shows with "X" in the name get higher ratings.


Music[edit | hide]

  • The J-Rock group X Japan.
    • Who were originally just named X, but had to change it when they expanded onto the American market - because there already was a punk band named X.
  • 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.

Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • The seventeenth and eighteenth WrestleManias, called, respectively, WrestleMania X-Seven and WrestleMania X8.
  • Then there was "X-Pac," though it wasn't clear what his name was supposed to mean.
  • And short-lived, MTV-backed promotion Wrestling Society X.
  • D Generation X
  • TNA's X-Division, the Ultimate X match, and the pay per view Destination X.


Radio[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • 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've thought this was the tenth Mega Man game.
  • 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.
  • Metal Slug X, which was a remake of Metal Slug 2
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator X, all previous Flight Simulator games were named after the year they were released.
    • However it is the Tenth game in the series.
  • 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 I 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.
    • Certainly Pokemon ED wouldn't fly around the US.
  • In Metroid Fusion, the alien baddies were named 'X'. These were so Badass, the oldones 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. Xemnas's 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 recently announced 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, PS 1 games 1Xtreme, 2Xtreme, and 3Xtreme. Supposedly they are a combination of racing and eXtreme sports, as in rollerblades and skateboards.
  • The Xbox.
    • three siXty
    • Though it is justified since it's (supposedly) meant to be short for DirectXbox, promoting Mircrosoft's Direct X.
      • Which uses X to represent any or all of the subcomponents, such as DirectSound, Direct3D, DirectDraw, etc.
  • Playboy X
  • The NES game Xexyz, but only in America.
  • A notable subversion (inversion?) is Final Fantasy X-2. The Final Fantasy series has always used the Roman numerals. It has also always had Nonlinear Sequels. Since Final Fantasy X was the first one to get a direct sequel, they named the sequel "X-2", confusingly pronounced "ten-two". (They've since come out with a XIII-2 as well).


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • 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.
  • Futurama is the trope namer.
    • It is also, on a related note, the trope namer for You Mean "Xmas". The characters also say "ax" in place of "ask".
    • See also the David X. Cohen example in the Real Life section below.
  • * "X Agent" from Sheep in The Big City. The trope was parodied in his first appearance:

General Specific: 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 prety mysterious! [waving fingers] Llllllllllllll...Lllllllll!!!
Narrator: So, as General Specific re-acquaints himself with the alphabet...


Webcomics[edit | hide]

Computers[edit | hide]

  • X tends to be a letter in operating systems and its components.
    • Older Than the NES is UNIX. Originally it was Unics, the opposite to Multics.
      • 'Unics' was meant to specify that it was "UNIplexed" i.e., it could handle one user at a time. Later, it could handle more users, so it was the UNIX Time-sharing System
    • The X Window System for UNIX and Linux (which includes x-terminal, x-clock, etc)
      • 'W' was already taken—in fact, it was X's predecessor
    • Windows XP. The XP stands for eXPerience, possibly because someone at Microsoft Central had been playing Dungeons and Dragons.
    • Mac OS X, all previous Mac OS's were numbered using Arabic numbers.
    • Microsoft's (mostly) video game API DirectX. X is taken as the variable for the APIs within the API (Direct2D, Direct3D, DirectMusic, DirectInput, etc.)
      • Which indirectly named the Xbox. It originally was called DirectX Box.
      • Because you can't go over to a friend's house to play his Mbox. It's just not kosher.
  • And software loves the X as well
    • 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.
    • Adobe in early 2011, released their tenth version of their PDF reader. They also invoked this trope by calling it Adobe Reader X.
  • 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.
    • The graphics card company XFX, which also slaps on XXX when one X isn't enough for their souped up graphics cards.
    • 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 kooler:[1] 1280x768 picel, or 1280x768 pixel?

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • 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 sports car is the RSX.
    • Nissan and its 180SX/240SX (depending on where you live)
    • Subaru Impreza WRX
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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 Röntgenstrålar.
      • 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.
  • Averted in "ex-wife", "ex-husband", and so forth.
  • 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.
  • Airports:
    • Dubai Airport is written as DXB in all shortened forms such as on plane tickets and on arrivals timings.
    • LAX, in Los Angeles.
    • According to The Other Wiki's article about IATA airport codes, "[s]ome airports in the United States retained their NWS codes and simply appended an X at the end, such as LAX for Los Angeles, PDX for Portland, and PHX for Phoenix."
  • 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 anything,[2] 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 changed its initials from TSE to TSX for this simple reason.
  1. and easier to spell
  2. though it was a corruption of a prior name Esso, which came from the letters S.O., for Standard Oil