X in sign language

A manual alphabet, as part of a sign language, is used for fingerspelling people's names and foreign words of a spoken/written language.

X in ASL alphabet

The letter X in American Sign Language is formed in "clawed 1" handshape.

Definition: The 24th letter of the alphabet in English and American manual alphabet, a consonant.

Pronunciation (sign description): The forefinger or index finger of a dominant hand is hooked while the other fingers and thumb is in its 'fist' form. The orientation of the palm faces left if dominantly right-handed in its standalone as a letter.

Naturally, the orientation may be variant in fingerspelling due to naturally occurring co-articulation, meaning a letter may be affected by the previous and the next letter in, as I call it, "cursive" fingerspelling.

Handshape X/1-claw activity game

List as many ASL words that start with the dominant-handed handshape X (or 1-claw) as you can before you take a peer some possible words below.


Some possible answers: RED, PICK-ON, SUSPICIOUS, WITNESS, MINE (as in excavation in the earth), TIME, TEASE,...

Baby signing X

The handshapes "X" and "1" are largely related in its handshape family, yet the gap between them in ASL language acquisition is big.

First, the gestural pointing with the index finger emerged at 6-9 months as commonly found in babies, whether they sign or not. Then, "1" handshape in ASL words months later. Then "X" handshape emerge few more months later.

In a case study of baby Juli in my documentation, the "1" handshape emerged in ASL words at about 15-16 months (the earliest at 12 months in COOKIE with a handshape error). Immediately after the other handshapes "O", "B" (with the controlled thumb inside the palm), and "D", the handshape "X" as in a letter emerged at 22 months.

The "X" handshape is easy for adult beginners but not for babies. Because, it involves proximalization in which kids develop a physical coordination from shoulder to elbow to wrist to finger to knuckles in sign language. Babies can manipulate objects with their hands, but it doesn't mean they can pronounce ASL words, just like hearing babies can eat but it doesn't mean they can speak English words perfectly.

Manual alphabets around the world

As sign languages of Deaf people are different around the world, there are different manual alphabets throughout the world. Except, some signed language that are different do share a similar manual alphabet.

X letter in BSL
X letter in BSL

The letter X in the British manual alphabet, part of British Sign Language (BSL), Australian Sign Language (Auslan), and New Zealand Sign Language.

On the other hand, French Sign Language (LSF) and American Sign Language (ASL) share the similar manual alphabet; although, these modern signed languages are different today, even though Old ASL was descended, in most part, from Old LSF in the 19th century.

Related words

Previous letter: W and next letter Y.


Written ASL

[Note: ASL writing is not an official standard. This sign language writing remains in a state of open space to allow room for experiment, evolution, and improvement.]

How to write ASL for letter X

Written ASL digit for the alphabetical letter X. [Contributed by ASLwrite, 2019]

Feeling lucky? Random word

Basic word starters: hello / learn / ASL / sign language / alphabet / love / I love you / please / thank you / welcome...

Search Tips and Pointers

Search/Filter: Enter a keyword in the filter/search box to see a list of available words with the "All" selection. Click on the page number if needed. Click on the blue link to look up the word. For best result, enter a partial word to see variations of the word.

Screenshot of dictionary search with notes
Screenshot of the search dictionary

Alphabetical letters: It's useful for 1) a single-letter word (such as A, B, etc.) and 2) very short words (e.g. "to", "he", etc.) to narrow down the words and pages in the list.

For best result, enter a short word in the search box, then select the alphetical letter (and page number if needed), and click on the blue link.

Screenshot of dictionary search with notes
Screenshot of the search dictionary

Don't forget to click "All" back when you search another word with a different initial letter.

If you cannot find (perhaps overlook) a word but you can still see a list of links, then keep looking until the links disappear! Sharpening your eye or maybe refine your alphabetical index skill. :)

Add a Word: This dictionary is not exhaustive; ASL signs are constantly added to the dictionary. If you don't find a word/sign, you can send your request (only if a single link doesn't show in the result).

Videos: The first video may be NOT the answer you're looking for. There are several signs for different meanings, contexts, and/or variations. Browsing all the way down to the next search box is highly recommended.

Video speed: Signing too fast in the videos? See HELP in the footer.

ASL has its own grammar and structure in sentences that works differently from English. For plurals, verb inflections, word order, etc., learn grammar in the "ASL Learn" section. For search in the dictionary, use the present-time verbs and base words. If you look for "said", look up the word "say". Likewise, if you look for an adjective word, try the noun or vice versa. E.g. The ASL signs for French and France are the same. If you look for a plural word, use a singular word.