x sym Any unknown process or quantity, such as the amount of “stupid” it takes to fill a congress.
xenon n A gaseous chemical element, a member of the noble gases and consequently, doesn’t play well with others. Xenon has to be put under extreme conditions before it will willingly hook up with another element and form a compound, such as a difloride, tetrafloride and even a trioxide, the latter of which is a bum idea because it explodes, frequently. Not a party gas.
Xenophilic Observation maxim Change for the sake of change is better than loose change, but not much.
xenophobe n Any person who has an unreasoning fear of strangers, foreigners, or aliens. People who have a reasoning fear of strangers, etc. are called bigots or conservatives.
Xmas abbr The official abbreviation for Christmas, and comes from the similarity between the capital letter “X” and the Greek letter “Chi”. It is thought that the usage dates back to early efficiency experts known to have infested Rome during the early Middle Ages.
yam n A tuberous root often candied because there’s no other way to choke it down.
Yorkshire pudding n An English dish made up of one part meat drippings, two parts flour, and five parts fat. While this doesn’t sound terribly appetizing, it beats the hell out of German dishes with the suffix wurst.
young adj A relative term meaning the opposite of old. Ask any parent.
Youngerman’s Concern maxim Faith and purity are inadequate substitutes for Kevlar and good cover.
Yule n A Southern Christmas greeting.
yuppie n 1970’s and ‘80’s reference to a segment of society, then perceived as a new phenomenon. Stood for Young Urban Professional. Gradually replaced, by the mid-1990’s by a new designation: See yuthie.
yuthie n Mid-1990’s designation that replaced yuppie. Stands for Young Urban Thug. Both terms are economic in nature and represent comparable buying power.
zeal n The incestuous, bastard offspring of faith and obstinacy. A mildly infectious but highly lethal disease vectored by ignorance and hubris.
zealot n One so convinced of the correctness of his own beliefs that he never notices that his fly is down. While this attitude is generally religious in origin, almost anything can become a basis for zeal. Except broccoli, of course.
zeitgeist n The spirit or flavor of a period of history; a characteristic outlook of philosophic thought. The writing of Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift for example, characterized the Age of Reason in the 18th Century. Queen Victoria lent her name to the prim, proper, somewhat smug thinking of the 19th Century and hence, the Victorian Age. In the late 20th Century, the zeitgeist of the Cold War between the Western Powers and the Soviet Bloc is a further example, while at the start of what will be or is, depending on your calendric biases, the 21st Century, the powerful musings of Al Gore and George W. Bush will no doubt characterize the LikeThirtySomething era, as depressing as that may sound.
zen n Buddhist offshoot philosophy/religion where man’s relationship or oneness with the universe is central to all things, particularly trees, hugging, flower arranging, and motorcycle repair.
Zeno pers Greek philosopher famous for a silly paradox named after him. The paradox concerns the concepts of limits, something that most people agree exist for everybody, except persons of socialist extraction, who believe in an expanding universe. Generally of debt.
zero tolerance n In the latter part of the 20th Century, a principle employed to reduce the number of overworked neurons in the cerebral cortex, by reducing the need to think, judge, reason, or evaluate. Based upon the firm, combined principles pioneered by both Pavlov and Lenin, all reasoning judgment is rendered immaterial and only yes/no dichotomies are allowed. See Les Miserables by Hugo. Interestingly enough, the main proponents of this rather medieval behavior generally also favor standardization of the celebration of diversity to all public forums.
Zevon’s Distinction obs The difference between Serious Fun and Just Good Fun is that the former costs a grand and the later costs ninety days.
Zionist n In the Arab world, anyone who holds the belief that Jews have any claim to any part of the earth, other than an individual six foot plot. See anti-Semitic.
zipgun n The weapon of choice for those who desire to learn base 8 arithmetic.
zodiac n A figurative belt around the heavens, wherein the major planets and constellations are found. The signs of the zodiac (e.g. Aries, Taurus, Cancer) determine which part of the morning newspaper is read first.