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Merry Christmas! And why you should say it…

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For a few years now, we’ve been hearing politically-correct season’s greetings such as Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Solstice, Holidays, and probably more!

It is all, may I propose, crap.

Christmas has nothing to do with anybody real or mythological named Christ. Even less so Christianity. The character and religion have become irrelevant to the issue.

How many of you suffer qualms, nay, Doubts, or other metaphysical tantrums when you hear or, forbid, say “Goodbye!”? Really?

Let’s take a look at some common terms originally related to religious belief and see where they’ve gone. There are three main etymological sources

  1. God
  2. Jesus
  3. Christ

Godson, -mother, etc.

OK, some of you in such situations, more of the parent species, may still actually believe in God, but you’re a dying breed. This relationship is more one of emotional family.

Gossip

Surprisingly, ditto! From Old English godsibb, “sponsor” or “godparent”, from God + sibb, the latter related to (pun intended) “sibling”. Terms later expanded to include people invited to attend a birth, then “anyone engaging in familiar or idle talk” up until the actual talk itself.

Golly!

And when as the last time you said that? Or Gosh! Both are euphemisms for “God”.

Gospel

OK, for the singing and dancing, maybe. But this goes the other way: originally Old English godspel, or “good spell” from god, “good” (not God), and spel, “story, saying, tale, etc.” which also gives us the Harry Potter type spell. And given the whimsy of the New Testament’s Gospels, saying “gospel truth” is a bit of a contradiction in terms… But let us not be divisive and move on.

Giddy

From Old English gidig / gydig, “insane, mad, stupid” and possibly from Proto-Germanic *gud-iga-, possessed by a god / spirit.

Begorra!

Beloved by Irish-accent imitators, and old Anglo-Irish version of the expletive “By God!”

Drat!

Cloaked version of “God rot!”

Blimey! Gor blimey!

Altered pronunciation of “(God) blind me!”

Good-bye

From 16th-C English godbwye, a contraction of “God be with ye”.

Gadzooks!

OK, we never say that any more (or Zounds! From God’s [i.e. Jesus’] wounds), but the Gad comes from God and the -zooks and other endings as in gadsbobs, gadsniggers, gadsbudlikins, etc. are all mere trimmings.

Jeepers!

US euphemism for Jesus, like Jeez! and Gee!

Cretin

Term coined to assert the fact that all mentally-deficient patients were nevertheless Christians (or vice versa).

Crikey!

Yet another substitution for “Christ”.

Kriss Kringle

We’re close to an actual match here: from German “Christkindlein” or “Christkindl”, Christ child, not Santa.

Criminy!

Yet another substitution for “Christ”.

Crisscross

From Middle English crist(s)-crosse, “Christ’s cross”, and before that (late 14th-C) cros-kryst, indicating the mark of a cross written before the alphabet on hornbooks, framed documents reproducing the alphabet for teaching purposes and meaning “Christ-cross me speed”, or “May Christ's cross give me success.

Marry!

Anyone remember their Shakespeare? A common corruption of “Virgin Mary”.

Strewth!

Australian version of “God's truth”.

Crumbs!

This one, like so many others, takes the first few letters of a word (Christ) and gives it a more kosher ending. We’ve already seen this in Jeepers, Gosh and others, but there are also:

  • Hell > Heck
  • Holy Mary > Holy Mackerel

Other sweetening transformations include sugar for shit, freaking for fucking, etc.

And to round off this little list:

Really

Really? Really… First recorded sometime in the 15th-C to refer to the actual, physical presence of Christ in the Eucharist (although it’s just flour and water, really, with a bit of salt for flavor, and a sip of grape juice). It comes from Latin res, meaning “thing, object, being”, with the -al ending meaning “of the kind of, pertaining to”.

Really!

So yes – Christians and atheists, Jews and Muslims, spiritists and Wiccans, or basically anybody living in a culture where Christmas is a time for friends and family to get together, share gifts, cards, food and drink, and celebrate a short window of the year when routine aggravation can be forgotten – can all say Merry Christmas and, despite alternative calendars around the world, a Happy New Year!

 

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Guest Sunday, 22 September 2019
You are here: Home Frogologoblog Simon Merry Christmas! And why you should say it…