Christmas

Christmas

[kris-muhs]
noun
1.
the annual festival of the Christian church commemorating the birth of Jesus: celebrated on December 25 and now generally observed as a legal holiday and an occasion for exchanging gifts.

Origin:
before 1150; Middle English cristmasse; Old English Cristes mǣsse Mass of Christ

Christmassy, Christmasy, adjective
post-Christmas, adjective
pre-Christmas, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
Christmas (ˈkrɪsməs)
 
n
1.  a.  the annual commemoration by Christians of the birth of Jesus Christ on Dec 25
 b.  Also called: Christmas Day Dec 25, observed as a day of secular celebrations when gifts and greetings are exchanged
 c.  (as modifier): Christmas celebrations
2.  Lady Day Midsummer's Day Compare Michaelmas Also called: Christmas Day (in England, Wales and Ireland) Dec 25, one of the four quarter days
3.  Also called: Christmastide the season of Christmas extending from Dec 24 (Christmas Eve) to Jan 6 (the festival of the Epiphany or Twelfth Night)
 
[Old English Crīstes mæsseMass of Christ]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

Christmas
late O.E. Cristes mæsse, from Christ (but retaining the original vowel sound) + mass. Written as one word from mid-14c. Father Christmas first attested in a carol attributed to Richard Smart, Rector of Plymtree (Devon) from 1435-77. Christmas
tree first attested 1835 in Amer.Eng., from Ger. Weihnachtsbaum. Christmas cards first designed 1843, popular by 1860s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

Christmas definition


A festival commemorating the birth of Jesus, traditionally celebrated on December 25 by most Western Christian churches. Although dating to probably as early as a.d. 200, the feast of Christmas did not become widespread until the Middle Ages. Today, Christmas is largely secularized and dominated by gifts, decorated trees, and a jolly Santa Claus.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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