Etymology lesson of the week

03Dec06

Christmas, is a word I wanted to add to this section for a while and it’s now appropriate.

“The shortening of Christmas to Xmas by educated persons who knew Greek has been common since the sixteenth century. “Xmas” was an ecclesiastical abbreviation used by churchmen in tables & charts. In ancient Christian art χ and χρ are abbreviations for Christ’s name. In many manuscripts of the New Testament and icons, X is an abbreviation for Christos. The Oxford English Dictionary documents the use of this abbreviation back to 1551, 50 years before the first English colonists came to North America and 60 years before the King James Version of the Bible was completed.”

 I decided to add this from a flickr member’ photo caption or check it out at Etymonline.com

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