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From the seminal text adventure game Adventure (c.1975), where it served as a "magic word"; possibly originated as a mnemonic for the subscripts of the cross product in mathematics.



xyzzy (uncountable)

  1. Used as a placeholder word or metasyntactic variable.
    • 2001, Simson Garfinkel, Gene Spafford, Web Security, Privacy and Commerce
      Especially bad are "magic words" from computer games, such as xyzzy. These magic words look secret and unguessable, but in fact they are widely known.
    • 2002, Mark Gaynor, Network Services Investment Guide
      Suppose stock xyzzy is selling at $100.00 on January 1, 2002. The classic call option is to pay a fixed amount per share (say $10) for the option to buy...
    • 2005, Ruslan Mitkov, The Oxford Handbook of Computational Linguistics
      The path that relates xyzzy to XYZZY cycles many times through the single state of the transducer.
    • 2006, Venkat Subramaniam, Andy Hunt, Practices of an Agile Developer
      How you even form the sentence makes a difference; if you say, "We need technology xyzzy because...," then the battle for common sense is already lost.
    • 2008, Randal L Schwartz, Tom Phoenix, Brian Foy, Learning Perl
      Perl doesn't care if you call your loop labels things like XYZZY or PLUGH.