Where does xtra come from?
Extra has been used as an adjective since the 1650s, when it came to mean "above the standard" or "additional" (e.g., She helped herself to an extra serving of mashed potatoes). In the 1770s, extra came into use as a shortened form of extraordinary. Instead of just meaning "more," extra began to imply better. The spelling xtra is evidenced since at least the 1870s in marketing, not to mention as a shorthand for extra in everyday writing.
The slang senses of extra has a long history. According to Green's Dictionary of Slang, extra was used in Australian and US slang for "extraordinarily good" in the 1940s. The West Indies introduced extra for "a show-off" or "flashy" in the 1990s, perhaps helping to influence its contemporary slang for "dramatic" or "over the top." Extra was apparently shortened to xtra as a stylistic choice and as part of the general internet trend of conserving characters.
Who uses xtra?
As noted, xtra is often used simply as an abbreviation for extra in its more traditional meaning, and extra can be used as slang in the same way as xtra. Neither spelling is unique to the slang meaning of the word. In spoken and social-media slang contexts, xtra most often appears in the phrase "being/is xtra" or "being/is so xtra." Xtra often carries with it a negative connotation. Someone being xtra is not just being excessive or dramatic—but unnecessarily so. This use is common among young females online and in speech.
In LGBTQ spaces, however, xtra carries a slightly different connotation. Though it still means "dramatic" or "over the top," many members of the gay community view the ability to be over the top with their sexuality as liberating. Drag queens are sometimes referred to as extra or xtra in this vein.
Since xtra is a stylized abbreviation of extra, many publications and brands use it in their name. This use is generally not associated with the slang meaning of xtra. For instance, media analytics company Xtra Insights uses xtra as a catchier form of extra.
Some publications that use the term are, however, deliberately nodding to its association with the gay community. These publications include Xtra, an online Canadian magazine sharing news and opinions from the LGBTQ community, and cityXtra, a Florida-based online gay news and opinion publication.
Because im stuck somewhere inbetween buying a louis vuitton diaper bag and slapping myself in the face for being so xtra
@kayla_mendrek, January, 2018
Kylie is so annoying on her snapchat and idk how her friends don't tease her all the time for being so xtra yet I watch it every day
@cailinmcdirty, March, 2016
Even though mousses can be a rather difficult and unusual styling asset to manage, the hold and shaping ability [Organic Hairspa Fiber Mousse] provides is the best I’ve ever experienced with a mousse. I just LOVE the fact that it adds a little xtra drama to your platinum – and I like being xtra and I live for the drama.
Sofie Riise Nors, Fizzy Mag, December, 2017