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It's a balmy Christmas night where I live, so here's a festive word for us all - Historical Origins of English Words and Phrases [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Historical Origins of English Words and Phrases

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It's a balmy Christmas night where I live, so here's a festive word for us all [Dec. 25th, 2009|10:01 pm]
Historical Origins of English Words and Phrases

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[gwoman]
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Christmas, n. [kris-muhs, krĭs-məs]
-This holiday is both ancient and modern, religious and secular. It first appears in our language during the time of Old English, when it was simply called the Cristes mæsse 'Christ's mass or festival,' a mass being the religious service performed by a priest in front of (later involving) the community members. By late Middle English and beginning in at least the 14th century, the name for this holy day was shortened to the single word Cristemas. When the name Cristes was altered to Christ during the 15th century, it was also changed in the name of the holiday, resulting in Christmas. As for the infamous Xmas, this was in no way meant to delete the name of Jesus from the holiday. The earliest known use is recorded as Xres mæsse from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which dates from 1100, long before Cristes mæsse as the proper name had even been joined into one word. Xres was derived from Xr-, one of the two early ways of shortening Cristes (the other being Xp-)from Greek Christos. In actual Greek, Christos is written as Χριστός, so the Xr- (or Xp-) is just the first letter of his name. We don't see any form of Xmas as one word until the mid-1500's.



Side note:
Merry Christmas to everyone here who celebrates it, and a belated Happy Hanukkah, Merry Yule, and early Happy Kwanzaa! I'm happy to report that I have the next week off, so I'll only be posting on occasion here. Everyone take care and enjoy the festive time of year!
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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2009-12-26 07:15 am (UTC)
not yet :) i'll add it to the list for you.
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[User Picture]From: persiflage_1
2009-12-26 08:23 am (UTC)
Merry Christmas!!!
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[User Picture]From: namfle
2009-12-26 02:21 pm (UTC)
Your icon made me laugh.

Merry Christmas!

-elfman-
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[User Picture]From: persiflage_1
2009-12-26 04:36 pm (UTC)
*giggles* Thanks. I just HAD to have that one, being a batshit-for-Martha-Jones fangirl!
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2009-12-27 12:30 am (UTC)
merry christmas to you, too!
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[User Picture]From: blur_kiwi
2009-12-26 08:58 am (UTC)
Have a great break, enjoy the festivities and thanks once again for all the hard work you do for this community. :)))
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2009-12-27 12:31 am (UTC)
thank you! i hope your holiday has been great, too!
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[User Picture]From: namfle
2009-12-26 02:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks for all the hard work!

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. :)

-elf-
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2009-12-27 12:31 am (UTC)
thank you for reading :) merry christmas and a happy new year to you, too!
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[User Picture]From: inncubus
2009-12-26 02:15 pm (UTC)
Is it ok to quote these elsewhere? There's been a bit of a discussion about Xmas on one of the Fora I frequent, and I'd like to add this information to the discussion. If it is OK what format would you like credit to be given in?
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2009-12-27 12:29 am (UTC)
absolutely! if you wouldn't mind putting a link to this post when you quote, that would be great. glad to be of help!
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[User Picture]From: inncubus
2009-12-27 01:29 am (UTC)
Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: dgirl1300
2009-12-26 05:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you SO much for this! I was raised in the church, and also in the Bible belt. I can remember my peers lecturing for using "Xmas" because I was 'taking Christ out of Christmas'. Even now I feel a little twinge of guilt when I use the abbreviation. Stupid, I know, but I do. Now I can abbreviate without guilt! hoorah!
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2009-12-27 12:32 am (UTC)
that was EXACTLY why i decided to do Xmas too. i'm so glad you can use the term without guilt now!
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[User Picture]From: feyrieprincess
2009-12-26 08:06 pm (UTC)
Thank-you!
I loved the tracing of the "Xmas"
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2009-12-27 12:33 am (UTC)
thanks! it was pretty fun for me, too.
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[User Picture]From: sillyweasel
2009-12-27 12:06 am (UTC)
Oooh, well this makes me wonder when and how XXX became related to booze and set.
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[User Picture]From: sillyweasel
2009-12-27 12:06 am (UTC)
or sex even*
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2009-12-27 12:35 am (UTC)
hmmm, i'll look for those, but i don't know if i can get anything on it. i'll do my best!
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[User Picture]From: sillyweasel
2009-12-27 12:52 am (UTC)
cool. Merry crimmas and new years and snow season!
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2009-12-27 08:06 am (UTC)
to you too!
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[User Picture]From: lapiskelinia
2009-12-27 03:24 am (UTC)
Excellent coverage of Xmas!
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2009-12-27 08:07 am (UTC)
thanks!
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