Where does the word “Xerography” come from and What does Xerography mean?

The word “Xerography” is of very recent coinage, dating only to about 1940, this, like most words in English having the initial x, is based on Greek roots.

It is made up of the combining forms of zeros, “dry,” and graphein, “to write,” hence has the literal meaning of “dry writing.”

Although on an etymological basis it could be applied, therefore, to writing with a pencil rather than with ink, actually it is used exclusively in connection with a photographic process in which the latent image is formed as an electrostatic charge and is developed through the adhesion of a dry powder to the charged areas.

This is in contrast to other photographic processes where the latent image is developed by processing with solutions of chemicals.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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