A lazy practice has hit the air force: at first in writing, but now it is starting to spread into speech, making it sound even more ridiculous than when you read it. The phenomenon is X-Abbreviations. It started with the shortening of words and adding an x at the end to show that it was a shortened term. This was probably done to aid speed of writing these words in some operational context such as on a tote board or on a target map for example. The phenomenon developed and started to be used in everyday correspondence and reports and more and more words were contracted using this method.

There are no real patterns or rules to the contraction other than: If an x can be included somewhere in the word such that it has a clear pronunciation of the sound of the x (Particularly easy if the x is at the end of the word) then this is acceptable.

There are now many x-abbreviations, with new ones being idiotically added to the list with alarming regularity. Their acceptability within an operational context was shaky at best but the fact that people now speak using these terms is not acceptable.

Below is a list of the most commonly used X-Abbreviations:

  • Airex – Airborne exercise
  • Bx – Bombs / US Base Exchange
  • Canx – Cancelled
  • Clx – Clearance
  • CPX – Simulate
  • Cx – Checks / Cancel
  • Endex – End of exercise
  • Essex – Essential Exercises
  • Fx – Effects
  • Lox – Liquid Oxygen
  • Mx – Missile / Maintenance
  • Pax – Passenger
  • Rx – Receive
  • Startex – Start of exercise
  • Swx – Switches
  • Tx – Transmit
  • UXB – Unexploded bomb
  • Vx – Velocity
  • Wx – Weather
  • XO – Executive Officer

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