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Why do some words have “X” as a substitute?

I had seen abbreviations like sk8 (meanning skate, using sk and the number pronunciantion eight).

But why Christmas is abbreviated like xmas?

x pronunciation is ex and ex-mas doesn't works.

Maybe is because the x looks like a cross but I don't know.

Someone can explain this?

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marked as duplicate by JSBձոգչ, Robusto, Kit Z. Fox, Matt E. Эллен, yoozer8 Jan 11 '12 at 16:03

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

From Wikipedia:

"Xmas" is a common abbreviation of the word "Christmas". It is sometimes pronounced /ˈɛksməs/, but it, and variants such as "Xtemass", originated as handwriting abbreviations for the typical pronunciation /ˈkrɪsməs/. The "-mas" part is from the Latin-derived Old English word for "Mass", while the "X" comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, translated as "Christ".

There is a common misconception that the word Xmas is a secular attempt to remove the religious tradition from Christmas by taking the "Christ" out of "Christmas".

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The original association of X may be from Χριστός, but it seems that the X = cross association is memetically more significant these days. – Russell Borogove Mar 23 '12 at 17:56

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