The Silent T in Christmas

The Silent T in Christmas we say Christmas with a silent T, saying Chris Mas and not Christ Mas.

The Silent T in Christmas

The Silent T in Christmas

Christmas [kris-muh s]

Christ [krahyst]

Chris [kris]

-mas [muh s]

I saw someone mention this in an answer on StackExchange on the etymology on the Silent T in Christen.

As for the silent “t” in Christmas, McCawley explained that the “t” was once pronounced in words such as “Christmas,” “glisten,” “listen,” “mistletoe” and “soften.” (The pronunciation of the “t” in “often” by some speakers today is a remnant of this practice.)

But during the 1600s, the “t” sound was dropped whenever it was preceded by a spirant (a fricative consonant such as “s” or “f”) and followed by a sonorant (a voiced consonant such as “l,” “r,” “m” or “n”).1

So maybe we should start emphasizing Christ in Christmas. So saying it like this Merry Christ Mas [krahyst-muh s]. I know that Jerry that also works with the youth at my church says it as Christ Mas. I plan to try to start saying Christ Mas [krahyst-muh s]. After all Christmas is all about Jesus Christ!

It is funny how we don’t pronounce Christ, in Christmas. Maybe we should start doing that, after all the first seven letters are important … CHRIST. That is what CHRISTmas is about after all. The celebration of the birth of Christ.

Our alphabet takes a hit during CHRISTmas, First this Silent T and the No “L’s'” What’s next?

1. StackExchange

First published December 21, 2016. Last republished or updated December 4, 2020

About the Author

Author: Steve Patterson

A Christian Blogger that enjoys blogging about the Bible, Theology, God, Jesus Christ, Christian Music, Family, Cats, Odd Holidays, sewing and much more. I have been blogging since 2004, however, I have been blogging on Courageous Christian Father since 2012. I enjoy listening to Christian Music. I am married with 1 daughter, 2 step-sons and a step daughter.

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