When I was a kid, my family used to love to play board games. These games were not only fun, but many were meant to be learning experiences. My father was particularly fond of playing games with his children. One of the games we played sometimes was Anagrams.
In Anagrams, a player thinks of a word and uses letter tiles to spell it out, scrambling the letters. The other players have to figure out what word it is.
I wasn’t much good at Anagrams, because being the youngest I had the smallest vocabulary. We weren’t supposed to use a dictionary, but to break my losing streak, I asked my dad if I could use a dictionary, just once… He allowed it.
Of course, I turned to the most exotic letter – X – and found a word that stumped him, my mother, and all my siblings. That word was xanthochroid. I remember this word to this day, although I never use it in casual conversation, or even in formal essays!
One thing I like about it, though, is that it describes ME!
I always thought it was a noun, e.g. “I am a xanthochroid“, but in fact, it’s an adjective, according to dictionary.com, which defines xanthochroid as follows:
xanthochroid in Medicine
Perhaps it’s a term used more often in medicine than anyplace else.
The origin of the word xanthochroid comes from Greek:
+ meaning “pale”.
III. The Xanthochroic Type …
A third extremely well-defined type of mankind is exhibited by the greater part of the population of Central Europe. These are the Xanthochroi, or fair whites. They are of tall stature and have the skin almost colourless, and so delicate that the blood really shows through it. The eyes are blue or grey; the hair light, ranging from straw-colour to red or chestnut; the beard and body-hair abundant.
I don’t consider my skin to be “almost colorless” although I can see my veins on my wrist and forearm. Here, then, are some images of xanthochroid people:
Left: Two women from Iceland; Right: a young Scot
Doing research on this word, I discovered that Xanthochroid is the name of a “black metal” band! According to its web site, it strives to produce the most sophisticated and enthralling compositions in the metal scene today. … Xanthochroid combines many styles into a blackened cloud of legendary metal might.
Seems to be an oxymoron – “black”metal band named after very “white” people?? The guy in the back row at left is definitely xanthochroid!