6

I noticed that a lot of product names have random, cool-sounding letters in their name. They seem less random though when you realize that a lot of products use the same or similar random letters.

Examples of what I mean:

  • Lexus GX (Car)
  • Pokémon-GX (Trading cards)
  • Gatorade GX (Sports drink)
  • Buick GX (Another car)
  • Windows XP
  • Disney XD (TV channel)
  • Pokémon XD (Video game)
  • Sony XPeria (Phone) (this one's different but it might fall in the same pattern)

It seems a lot of random products follow the same pattern, a letter X accompanied by another letter that just sounds cool with it. Is there a known origin for this naming pattern?

  • 1
    from the marketing department? – Jasen Jun 2 at 4:52
  • 1
    @Jasen no, my question is where does this arbitrary naming pattern come from. Especially because the letters dont seem to be completely random, it's always specific patterns. – Oztaco Jun 2 at 4:59
  • In many cases they are copying a pattern from an earlier product, not always from the same manufacturer. "GT", appended to a car name, originally meant "Gran Turismo", but it was copied for cars (and many non-cars) that were clearly not designed for "grand touring", presumably because it seemed "macho". – Hot Licks Jun 2 at 12:07
  • 2
    our brains make endorphins when we find patterns, even if there is no pattern. – Jasen Jun 3 at 1:44
7

This is more a question of psychology than etymology.

The resonance of X as a signifier of mysterious precision explains why it’s so common in commerce and branding. The Jaguar X-Type. The 2008 Mitsubishi Evolution X. The X2000, Sweden’s high-speed train. The X-Acto knife. Mac OS X. The X game for Nintendo’s Game Boy. Microsoft’s Xbox console. Vitamin Water XXX (with three antioxidants). The X is a California roller coaster (the seats swivel around). Product X is a protein powder for bodybuilders. The X-Vest adds weight for exercise.

Article in Psychology Today, with copious references and links:

What's So Fascinating About the Letter "X"?

  • 1
    I'm not sure that "X-Acto" really belongs in the list with those other examples, since it's just a brand-y spelling of "exact-o". (Note that it's even pronounced with the /gz/ of "exact" rather than the /ks/ of "X".) Likewise, the "X" in "Mac OS X" is the Roman numeral, and is officially supposed to be pronounced "ten" rather than "X". – ruakh Jun 2 at 23:16
  • As well as Mac OS X as @ruakh mentions, the Mitsubishi Evo X was actually the tenth incarnation, and all have had Roman numerals. – Andrew Leach Jun 2 at 23:49
6

X is often used to abreviate a word that starts the with the "ex" sound like "extended","expanded","extreme" etc. or to represent the number 10 (roman numeral) , or words starting in cross (shape of the letter X)

  • Lexus GX (Grand Crossover)
  • IBM PC/XT (extended technnology)
  • MX record (mail exchanger)
  • 1
    The XP in Windows XP represented "experience" – Mari-Lou A Jun 2 at 10:04
  • @Mari-LouA - I'm guessing that was a backwards formation -- they chose "experience" because it had sexy X in it. I once worked on a project called "MAGIC" - machine automated generation of intermediate code. The wordy name was invented by a wag in a business meeting after someone else attacked the project proposal as being "magic". – Hot Licks Jun 22 at 11:50

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