X is for Xanthous


Yesterday, my roommate got an email from a friend that said, “I just rented a movie. It turns out that ‘XXXmas’ does not stand for ‘Merry Merry Christmas.’” I laughed until I snorted.

X does present a problem, doesn’t it? I mean, I refuse to tell you about the time in 5th grade when I was chosen by my music teacher to play the xylophone at the school assembly for a performance of “Sakura,” a Japanese folk song. In my opinion, “xylophone” is a meaningless word invented simply to balance out alphabetized file cabinets and dictionaries.

But fortunately, my “Word of the Day” emails are paying off. Last week, I learned a timely new term:

xanthous \ZAN-thuhs\, adjective:
yellow; yellowish

Baby chicks and daffodils. Sunshine and canaries. As the dreary, despondent soul that I am, yellow is not really my thing. I have never been a big fan of the color, mostly because when I wear it, I look like a corpse – which is odd, because when my sister Becca wears it, the angels sing and bluebirds and butterflies land on her shoulders.

We have the exact same coloring. It bucks the laws of science.

In a moment of recent self-pity, I told my mother and sister-in-law that when it comes to love, I feel like a yellow Starburst: if it’s the only option, someone will choose it – but in a bowl of pink and red, the yellow doesn’t stand a chance. Ashley said, “Some people prefer the yellow Starburst.” Mom said, “You’re more like a chocolate truffle in a sea of pink and red… decadent and intense, and no one quite knows what to do with you.” It was all very sweet. And then my moment of wallowing passed, and I ate a cookie.

One of the worst Family Feud answers ever:
Question: Name something packrats have a hard time throwing out.
#1 Answer: Photos.
Worst Answer: Corn

Corn is yellow.

Yellow flag = penalty.
Yellow light = warning.
Yellow skin = jaundice.
Yellowbellied = cowardice.

The only color worse than yellow is baby blue.

And that’s all I have to say on the subject of xanthous.


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  1. rachel rianne on January 5, 2009 at 10:16 AM

    when i read yellowish i thought of dwight’s shirt shades of yellow or dijon.

    do people really describe things as xanthous? that seems like an unnecessary word except for in the situations of blog posting alphabetically.

    you’re far from a yellow starburst.

  2. Jodie on January 5, 2009 at 10:16 AM

    I love reading you Annie Parsons.

  3. Annibelle on January 5, 2009 at 10:54 AM

    FYI: They say the color yellow causes anger/rage.

    I hate yellow, too.

    Mone boss and his wife bought me a sweater for Christmas. Can you guess what color it is? Yup, YELLOW!

    Lord, help me.

  4. Blake Boldt on January 5, 2009 at 11:12 AM

    The lemon/yellow Starbursts are my favorites, without a doubt.

  5. Christina on January 5, 2009 at 11:12 AM

    You make me laugh. :-)

  6. dc on January 5, 2009 at 11:32 AM

    I love yellow. Someday, when you come visit me, I’ll make you something delicious in my new yellow casserole dish (early wedding present, yay!) and give you a sunflower, which always seem to be blooming in my little house. Then you’ll love yellow too.

  7. Deborah Barnett on January 5, 2009 at 11:32 AM

    Ok, I agree on the ‘not wearing yellow’ thing… I look like I have jaundice if it’s anywhere near my face.

    But it IS a color I like. So to offer some sunny options for our xanthous friends… here are a few of my favorite [yellow] things:

    Banana Popsicles
    Happy Face coffee mugs(from the 70s)
    Spring daffodils
    Rubber duckies in my tub
    “I’m sorry” roses
    Cheese (um, hello!)
    Marshmallow Peeps
    Full moons
    Taxicabs that take me fun places
    Butter (uh huh, not afraid to say it)
    My favorite Coldplay song
    Helpful pages in the phonebook

    So there you have it. I just may be a xanthous woman after all… (insert yellow smiley face here)

  8. bec on January 5, 2009 at 11:45 AM

    wow, i had no idea that the world was such a wonderful place when i wear yellow. i mean, when i wear xanthous.

    i think you can wear it as much as i can – i just told myself once that i would wear it, and now i do a lot.

    peanut m&m's come in the yellow bag…one more reason to love it.

  9. Rebecca on January 5, 2009 at 12:11 PM

    Xanthous was my word of the day also last friday.
    i don’t abhor yellow…but i do believe that if
    yellow = detestable for you, then there is no better word to describe it than xanthous. because all i think of when i hear that word is deadly flesh eating virus. and honestly, who wants to wear that?

  10. wrecklessgirl on January 5, 2009 at 1:12 PM


    i love you, a thousand times, i love you!!!

    at least you are not alone.
    i’m also a trouffle. or yellow. whichever way you look at it.

    it’s an awkward thing to be single in your late 20’s, whether you choose it or want to be ‘taken’ –it’s still effin awkward.

  11. Tad on January 5, 2009 at 2:49 PM

    Maybe you could paint yellow stars and sunflowers on your Baby-blue wall. (Ha Ha). You know, yellow looks good on expensive european sports cars (Lamborgini, Ferrari, Lotus, Bugati, etc).

    As for yellow strbursts in a bowl of red and pink, join the club.

  12. Sarah Kate on January 5, 2009 at 3:58 PM

    I also get “Word of the day” emails. I’m hoping it pays off someday.

  13. Case and Los on January 5, 2009 at 4:28 PM

    FYI- Yellow Starbursts are also my faves. I love all things lemon-y. I’ve also seen some elegant yellowish walls in houses. But I hate the color yellow on clothes, or in gardens. and no offense to UW, but yellow and purple have to be the worst color combo ever.

  14. Paul on January 5, 2009 at 4:47 PM

    AWESOME BLOG!!! For one from whom you must have got at least part of your coloring, and who also looks like death warmed over with anything yellow within 50 paces, I get the xanthous anxiety thing really well. But, and this is a BIG “but,” you my dear are gorgeous no matter what you wear, honest. Trust your father.

  15. Anonymous on January 5, 2009 at 5:50 PM

    If it makes you feel better, Annie, I like the yellow Starbursts better. :)

    And xanthous seems like a pretty useless word to me. Unless you happen to be competing in the national spelling bee or something. Still, it becomes useful when doing alphabetical blog posts. :) At least you didn’t have to write a post on the topic of xylophones or xenial things. :)

    Keep on keepin’ on,
    Little AP

  16. Mary on January 5, 2009 at 6:47 PM

    I used to hate yellow; however, it has grown on me. And while I rarely wear it now, I am DYING to one day paint my dining room marigold – literally the color of the Veuve Clicquot label, because what is better than champagne, all day, every day. :)

    PS my verification word is cosselit. Not French, but it feels French, which corresponds to champagne.
    TA DAA. ;)

  17. kimberly on January 5, 2009 at 6:59 PM

    I couldn’t wear yellow until I dyed my hair dark. now I can pull it off (sometimes. if it is a dark yellow).

    Corn was on the feud again today. “Things you cook if you want to feed a lot of people.” ?? wtf feud! idiots.

  18. i'mthechief on January 5, 2009 at 7:01 PM

    1) i have a “word of the day” calendar! it’s so much fun. today’s word is “rubric.”

    i doubt i’ll ever use it.

    2) my favorite flowers are YELLOW roses. (or any color tulip.)

    3) i love your starburst metaphor so much that i’ll probably use it a lot in the span of my lifetime.

  19. | B e c k | on January 5, 2009 at 9:17 PM

    A of all, I believe that ORANGE is actually the least likely to be someone’s favorite starburst flavor. And I am a candy expert.

    B. I hate to break it to you, but your BLOG is yellow.

    C. I can never talk to Casey again because she just said the Dawgs are Purple and yellow… YELLOW!?! Gold, Casey, gold. They are the king’s colors: PURPLE AND GOLD.

    Now I will breathe again.

  20. Annie Parsons on January 5, 2009 at 9:19 PM

    Becky. My blog is BUFF. Not yellow – that’s totally hein. Yes, I shortened “heinous.”

    But you have definitely inspired me to revamp my layout… it’s been in the works for awhile now, because the poor thing needs a makeover in the worst way. But now, it’s totally a desperate need.

    Stand by. For a couple of days, maybe. Or a month.

  21. Greta on January 5, 2009 at 9:30 PM

    You are not a yellow starburst.

    You are a xanthous LOTUS. Remember??

    Also– I actually love your blog layout! I was thinking the other day that it almost proves your hard-core-ness as a blogger… Like, whereas other people rely on more gimmicky things (like regularly updated seasonal pictures…), the people that come back day after day to yours are coming for just the wit. The words. The latest with Annie P.

    And that is sort of cool. :)

  22. Annie Parsons on January 5, 2009 at 9:33 PM

    Yes. A xanthous Lotus. And a stone cold fox.


  23. Anonymous on January 5, 2009 at 10:08 PM

    I’m just mad about Annie… they call her mellow yellow! Keep on writing me some smiles girlfriend!

  24. Anonymous on January 5, 2009 at 10:38 PM

    Your spirit is what sunshine looks like in a person. Yellow is amazing!!! Thanks for sharing.

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