December 16, 2004
Why is there an X in Christmas? (X-mas)

A seasonal and interesting etymology question: was the X a "commercializing" thing to make Christmas more edible for non-Christians? Is the X really a cross?

Neither, in fact; it appears that the X is really the first letter of the word Xtos (ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ), which in Greek is the word for Christ.


PRONUNCIATION: krsms, ksms
NOUN: Christmas.
ETYMOLOGY: From X, the Greek letter chi, first letter of Greek Khrstos, Christ. See Christ.
USAGE NOTE: Xmas has been used for hundreds of years in religious writing, where the X represents a Greek chi, the first letter of , “Christ.” In this use it is parallel to other forms like Xtian, “Christian.” But people unaware of the Greek origin of this X often mistakenly interpret Xmas as an informal shortening pronounced (ksms). Many therefore frown upon the term Xmas because it seems to them a commercial convenience that omits Christ from Christmas.


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In the same vein, Christina Aguilera occasionally has worn leather chaps with "XTina" appliqued on them. She should have left the "t" out. Just thought I would share :)

Posted by: valerief on December 16, 2004 07:28 PM

The Norwegian "krossmesse" (Crossmass) is twice a year: May 3rd and Spetember 14th. (Source:

Posted by: on December 17, 2004 08:18 AM

The Norwegian "krossmesse" (Crossmass) is twice a year: May 3rd and September 14th. (Source:

Posted by: on December 17, 2004 08:19 AM

During religion classes in school, the Jesuit priests who taught us always used Xt to refer to Christ and all derivatives thereof.

Posted by: Philip Tellis on December 17, 2004 11:40 PM
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Maris blogg : X-mas (December 17, 2004 09:26 AM)
"På Anders Jacobsens blogg kan du lese hvor x-en i x-mas egentlig har sitt opphav. Interessant!"

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