X[t]ianity (was Re: Mind control in days of yore)

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sun Jun 8 17:40:41 EDT 2003

Charlie and Kathleen and then Charlie again wrote:

>> > in Xianity presumably you submit your will to God's by volition.
>> I came across this spelling in the OED as well. Why is it so? (Not for
>> length, obviously, as "volition" is longer).
>X for Christ is fairly common, isn't it? Think Xmas. Presumably the
>cross-shaped letter is an iconic representation of the crucifixion
>(admittedly it's a St Andrew's cross, but when do we ever want to say
>anything as short for St Andrew?). I don't know when it dates from (anyone?)
>but it's certainly pre-email and text-messaging!

Xtianity is the way the amazingly awful self-righteous prune Augustus Carp
spells it in  *Augustus Carp Esq, by Himself, being the Autobiography of a
Really Good Man* (published in 1942)

I think it's from the Greek letter Chi rather than from St Andrew's cross:
that thing called the ChiRo that looks like an Xp, on high-church banners
they carry in processions?  And if that's the case I wouldn't be in the
least surprised if Xt were a very early abbreviation for Christ,
reformation-time or something.

(Long delay before posting this, because I'd forgotten where I met Xtianity
until I was re-reading Carp this evening.  And I lack the OED Anna was
going to consult.)


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