[kris-muh s or, often, eks-muh s]

Usage note

The abbreviation Xmas for Christmas dates from the mid 16th century. The X is the Greek letter chi, the initial letter in the word Χριστός ( Chrīstos ) “Christ.” In spite of a long and respectable history, today Xmas is offensive to many, perhaps because of its associations with advertising. It is not used in formal writing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for xmas


  1. informal short for Christmas

Word Origin for Xmas

C16: from symbol X for Christ + -mas
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for xmas



"Christmas," 1551, X'temmas, wherein the X is an abbreviation for Christ in Christmas, from first letter of Greek Christos "Christ" (see Christ). The earlier way to abbreviate it was Xp- or Xr-, corresponding to "Chr-," and the form Xres mæsse for "Christmas" appears in the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" (c.1100).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper