I am looking for the origin of the word Xmas (used in place of Christmas)
Unlike the popular notion, the word "xmas" was not invented by carnal merchants trying to commercialize Christmas. The word is actually an old English one. The "x" in Christmas is the Greek letter chi, which is the first letter in the Greek word for "Christ." Thus, "xmas" is simply a shortened version of "Christmas.



I hadn't heard of the erotic interpretation before, and m-w.com pretty much agrees with the Chi/Rho-interpretation, but I've a third theory. Romans used a diangonal slash extending toward the lower-left to represent abbreviation. The "Rx" pharmaceutical symbol is actually the first letter of the Latin for perscription, recipere ("recipe"), with the slash to indicate abbreviation. Take that, and add the use of "x" in mathematics to represent generic, unknown quantities, as derived by Western scholars from the Arabic word for "thing." Take that tradition and note that "x" is often substituted from the prefix "trans-" in order to abbreviate, as "xfer" for "transfer." Now consider the significance of the title, Christ, within the religeon, that religions regard for the figure, Jesus, and the admonition against taking "the Lord's name" in vain. I'd profer that "Xmas" is a convenience in both mere brevity and in avoiding as charged a word (word-element) as "Christ."
OK, I can see the season is upon us, so I suggest that "X mas" is the Greek version of Roberto Duran's famous "no mas", and was uttered by ancient Greeks after a day's shopping at the mall in 0 BC.
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