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Interesting Etymologies : Christmas Special

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

Hello again Word Lovers!

Charly has returned, wearing a red tunic and a fake beard, smothered in mince pie crumbs as he tells us about the etymology of words connected to Christmas.

It should come as no surprise that the first word he investigates is Christmas and then a look at the roots of the word Christ and Messiah.

Yule is then explored as the early English word from Old Norse. The roots of the word "Eve" is uncovered as another of old English heritage, the night before a feast. We touch upon "Holy" but that is left for a more detailed investigation in a future episode.

We uncover the archaic uses of "Xmas", not as modern as first considered and even the word "Happy" gets a consideration.

"Bethlehem" is broken down and then we look at the words of the classic Nativity scene. A manger, Angels and tidings.

At breakneck speed we continue to the history of "Carols" and "Father Christmas" and the proto German descent of "Elf". As Santa Claus does his work he comes down the "Chimney" and in some houses he may consume "Egg Nog" or "Pease Pudding" and post food people may go "Wassailing" which turns out to be far more interesting than you might expect.

After Christmas, the twenty sixth of December in England is known as Boxing Day which we briefly explore too.

Our history of Father Christmas/Saint Nicholas can be read here

An article on the history of mince pies can be read here

The history of traditional English Christmas dinner and how to make it, find out more here

The Master wordsmith Charles Dickens has been given the Bulldogz audio drama treatment, listen to The Signalman

Interesting Etymologies will return after Christmas with a regular slot every Wednesday. You can find a guide to all the episodes here


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