• Christ •
Pronunciation: kraist • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, proper
Meaning: The Western European epithet used in referring to Jesus of Nazareth, who was born in Bethlehem in or about 1 AD (CE) and who died some 33 years later. Christians throughout the world celebrate his resurrection from that death today.
Notes: Jesus Christ (Jesus, the Anointed) is believed by millions to be the Son of God, the Messiah predicted in the Old Testament. Millions of others believe him to be the prophet of God. Everyone agrees that Christ is the source of the Christian doctrine that has survived until this day. This name gave us the adjective, Christian, and its noun, Christianity, referring both to the doctrine preached by Christ and the collective body of all believers in that doctrine, as in 'world Christianity' (or Christendom).
In Play: While Christians take Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Qur'an accepts him as a prophet on a level with Moses. Jews do not accept Christ as the Messiah at all. So, Christians, Muslims, and Jews acknowledge the same God but differ as to the status attributed to Christ in their respective religions.
Word History: The history of the epithet Christ is itself a reflection of Jesus' humble origins. The original root from which Christ is derived was the humble PIE root ghrei- "to rub". Contracted to ghri- and suffixed with -s it became Germanic gris- "frighten", which underlies grisly. Suffixed with -m, it gave us grime from Old Germanic grim "smear". In Greek it emerges as khriein "to anoint," whose past participle, khristos "anointed (one)" has been adopted in the West as a translation of Hebrew moshiakh "anointed one". English borrowed moshiakh, too: it is pronounced Messiah today in English.