the legendary patron saint of children, commonly identified with Saint Nicholas, who brings presents to children on Christmas Eve or, in some European countries, on Saint Nicholas' Day Often shortened to Santa Also called Father Christmas
1773 (as St. A Claus, in "New York Gazette"), Amer.Eng., from dialectal Du. Sante Klaas, from M.Du. Sinter Niklaas "Saint Nicholas," bishop of Asia Minor who became a patron saint for children. Now a worldwide phenomenon (e.g. Japanese santakurosu).