title given to Jesus of Nazareth, Old English crist (by 830, perhaps 675), from Latin Christus, from Greek khristos "the anointed" (translation of Hebrew mashiah; see messiah), noun use of verbal adjective of khriein "to rub, anoint" (see chrism). The Latin term drove out Old English Hæland "healer, savior," as the preferred descriptive term for Jesus.
A title, treated as a proper name in Old English, but not regularly capitalized until 17c. Pronunciation with long -i- is result of Irish missionary work in England, 7c.-8c. The ch- form, regular since c.1500 in English, was rare before. Capitalization of the word begins 14c. but is not fixed until 17c. The 17c. mystical sect of the Familists edged it toward a verb with Christed "made one with Christ."
anointed, the Greek translation of the Hebrew word rendered "Messiah" (q.v.), the official title of our Lord, occurring five hundred and fourteen times in the New Testament. It denotes that he was anointed or consecrated to his great redemptive work as Prophet, Priest, and King of his people. He is Jesus the Christ (Acts 17:3; 18:5; Matt. 22:42), the Anointed One. He is thus spoken of by Isaiah (61:1), and by Daniel (9:24-26), who styles him "Messiah the Prince." The Messiah is the same person as "the seed of the woman" (Gen. 3:15), "the seed of Abraham" (Gen. 22:18), the "Prophet like unto Moses" (Deut. 18:15), "the priest after the order of Melchizedek" (Ps. 110:4), "the rod out of the stem of Jesse" (Isa. 11:1, 10), the "Immanuel," the virgin's son (Isa. 7:14), "the branch of Jehovah" (Isa. 4:2), and "the messenger of the covenant" (Mal. 3:1). This is he "of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write." The Old Testament Scripture is full of prophetic declarations regarding the Great Deliverer and the work he was to accomplish. Jesus the Christ is Jesus the Great Deliverer, the Anointed One, the Saviour of men. This name denotes that Jesus was divinely appointed, commissioned, and accredited as the Saviour of men (Heb. 5:4; Isa. 11:2-4; 49:6; John 5:37; Acts 2:22). To believe that "Jesus is the Christ" is to believe that he is the Anointed, the Messiah of the prophets, the Saviour sent of God, that he was, in a word, what he claimed to be. This is to believe the gospel, by the faith of which alone men can be brought unto God. That Jesus is the Christ is the testimony of God, and the faith of this constitutes a Christian (1 Cor. 12:3; 1 John 5:1).