"xbow", sometimes spelled "x-bow", "XBow" or even "x bow", is a common contraction in the gaming environment which means "crossbow". Having started gaming as a child, I've never paid too much attention to it, largely because my English was a lot worse than now.

Approaching the barrier between B2 and C1, however, I started to wonder about the etymology of many things I am used to. I tried to use Google, but it has either pointed me at some gaming-related websites or at pages explaining the general meaning of the word "crossbow", which I don't need.

  • Gaming communities often come up with terms or abbreviations that stick but which have little relevance elsewhere. Some may be game specific or specific to a genre. For example "exp" or "XP" is experience or experience points. But I doubt you will find those terms used anywhere other than role playing games. – Brandin Oct 17 '18 at 8:21

So, writing a question at StackExchange actually is magical. I tried it again with a slightly different spelling of the contraction right before actually posting the question, and have found out that "X" is used as an abbreviation for "cross", as the letter is basically a cross.

Wow! Learning new stuff is fun.

  • Or "Christ" as in Xmas. In addition, it commonly refers to something extraordinary and/or enigmatic (like the X-Men), and is also where pirates bury their treasure (X marks the spot). Oh, and it can also be a symbol for kisses XXXX. – Andrew Oct 17 '18 at 2:20
  • Does the "X for Christ" have something to do with the way he died? – Baskakov_Dmitriy Oct 17 '18 at 7:43
  • 1
    @Baskakov_Dmitriy X in Xmas comes from the greek letter Chi. See Xmas. – Brandin Oct 17 '18 at 8:02
  • @Baskakov_Dmitriy I'm sure part of the historical appeal of this abbreviation is that the X-shape is like a leaning cross, but as Brandin says, it's likely from the Greek Χριστός (Christos). – Andrew Oct 17 '18 at 15:42

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