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General Writing and Grammar Help/Why it is not "Christmass" instead of "Christmas"?


Hi Ted,

Why it is not "Christmass" instead of "Christmas"? The latter means nothing in terms of English wording.
The word "mass" has a very important meaning in Physics : F = M * A
In religious terms, especially Christian/Catholic, the mass is the exercise of worshipping their supernatural believes.
I couldn't find any meaning for the word "mas" in English.
I could not find this questioning of the word Christmas during internet searches.
So Ted: Why it is not "Christmass" instead of "Christmas"?

Thank you,

Dear Leonardo:

Here is the derivation of the word "Christmas" from the "Online Dictionary" --

Christmas comes from the Old English words Cristes moesse, 'the mass or festival of Christ'. The first celebration took place in Rome about the middle of the fourth century. The exact date of the Nativity is not known, but even in pre-Christian times the period between December 25 and January 6 was considered a special time of year - now known as "The Twelve Days of Christmas". The abbreviation Xmas, thought as sacrilegious by some, is entirely appropriate. The letter X (chi) is the first letter in the Greek word for Christ.

*** Dropping the final "s" was a change made through common usage.  The change of the Old English "Cristes" to the modern version "Christ" is another example of how the word was modified by the common people, or "the masses," no pun intended.


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Ted Nesbitt


I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.


I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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