People are only just realising why Christmas is sometimes called Xmas

Ever wondered why Christmas is shortened to Xmas? Contrary to popular belief, it's not just because cross and Christ sound similar.

X actually used to be a religious symbol that stands for Jesus – and it dates back to medieval times.

Dictionary.com explains: "X represents the Greek letter chi the initial letter in the word Χριστός (Chrīstos). And what does Χριστός mean? '(Jesus) Christ.'"

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Meanwhile, the word "mas" is derived from the old English word for mass (a type of Church service).

So put them together and what do you get – Xmas!

Nowadays, the religious symbolism has been lost for some.

The term 'Xmas' is more likely to be used as an abbreviation.

Merriam-Webster dictionary explains: "(It's) now used chiefly for brevity in advertisements, headlines, etc."

Other words to describe the Christian festivity include Noel, Christmastide, Nativity or Yuletide.

Or if you prefer a bit of slang, why not use Chrimbo or Crimble?

While the former can be traced back to 1928, the latter is a form of modern British slang that was popularised by The Beatles.

John Lennon is said to have used the word in the band's 1963 Beatles Fan Club Christmas single.

The more you know!

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