What is the X in X-mas?
early 15c., from Latinized form of Greek krisis "turning point in a disease" (used as such by Hippocrates and Galen), literally "judgment, result of a trial, selection," from krinein "to separate, decide, judge," from PIE root *krei- "to sieve, discriminate, distinguish" (cf. Greek krinesthai "to explain;" Old English hriddel "sieve;" Latin cribrum "sieve," crimen "judgment, crime," cernere (past participle cretus) "to sift, separate;" Old Irish criathar, Old Welsh cruitr "sieve;" Middle Irish crich "border, boundary"). Transferred non-medical sense is 1620s in English. A German term for "mid-life crisis" is Torschlusspanik, literally "shut-door-panic," fear of being on the wrong side of a closing gate.
crisis cri·sis (krī'sĭs)
n. pl. cri·ses (-sēz)
A sudden change in the course of a disease or fever, toward either improvement or deterioration.
An emotionally stressful event or a traumatic change in one's life.
(Greek: "ladder"), in dramatic and nondramatic fiction, the point at which the highest level of interest and emotional response is achieved.