What is the X in X-mas?
"grain," Old English corn, from Proto-Germanic *kurnam "small seed" (cf. Old Frisian and Old Saxon korn "grain," Middle Dutch coren, German Korn, Old Norse korn, Gothic kaurn), from PIE root *gre-no- "grain" (cf. Old Church Slavonic zruno "grain," Latin granum "seed," Lithuanian žirnis "pea"). The sense of the Old English word was "grain with the seed still in" (e.g. barleycorn) rather than a particular plant.
Locally understood to denote the leading crop of a district. Restricted to the indigenous "maize" in America (c.1600, originally Indian corn, but the adjective was dropped), usually wheat in England, oats in Scotland and Ireland, while Korn means "rye" in parts of Germany. Maize was introduced to China by 1550, it thrived where rice did not grow well and was a significant factor in the 18th century population boom there. Cornflakes first recorded 1907. Corned beef so called for the "corns" or grains of salt with which it is preserved; from verb corn "to salt" (1560s).
"hardening of skin," early 15c., from Old French corne (13c.) "horn (of an animal)," later, "corn on the foot," from Latin cornu "horn" (see horn (n.)).
corn 2 (kôrn)
A small conical callosity caused by pressure over a bony prominence, usually on a toe. Also called clavus, heloma.
[second sense probably from the notion of cornfed as indicating rural simplicity and naivete]
The word so rendered (dagan) in Gen. 27:28, 37, Num. 18:27, Deut. 28:51, Lam. 2:12, is a general term representing all the commodities we usually describe by the words corn, grain, seeds, peas, beans. With this corresponds the use of the word in John 12:24. In Gen. 41:35, 49, Prov. 11:26, Joel 2:24 ("wheat"), the word thus translated (bar; i.e., "winnowed") means corn purified from chaff. With this corresponds the use of the word in the New Testament (Matt. 3:12; Luke 3:17; Acts 7:12). In Ps. 65:13 it means "growing corn." In Gen. 42:1, 2, 19, Josh. 9:14, Neh. 10:31 ("victuals"), the word (sheber; i.e., "broken," i.e., grist) denotes generally victuals, provisions, and corn as a principal article of food. From the time of Solomon, corn began to be exported from Palestine (Ezek. 27:17; Amos 8:5). "Plenty of corn" was a part of Issac's blessing conferred upon Jacob (Gen. 27:28; comp. Ps. 65:13).
city, Steuben county, south-central New York, U.S. It lies on the Chemung River, near the Pennsylvania border, 18 miles (29 km) northwest of Elmira. Settled in 1789, it was named in 1837 for Erastus Corning, promoter of a railroad connecting Pennsylvania coal mines with the Chemung Canal. Corning Incorporated (formerly Corning Glass Works), the city's chief industry, originated in 1868 as the Brooklyn Flint Glass Works and produces Steuben and flat glass, bulbs, tubing, fibre optics, and aerospace products. The Corning Glass Center (1951) houses a historical collection of glass (including the original, imperfectly cast 200-inch [5-metre] telescope mirror made in 1934 for the Palomar Observatory in California, where the second casting is now in use) and a notable library. Other manufactures include air compressors (at nearby Painted Post) and store fixtures. Corning Community College, now part of the State University of New York system, was founded in 1956. The Rockwell Museum includes a collection of American Western art. More than 2,000 homes were destroyed when floodwaters ravaged the city in June 1972. Inc. village, 1848; city, 1890. Pop. (1990) 11,938; (2000) 10,842.