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I recently heard the term 'Judeo-Christian' which caused a thought to strike me. I don't know how to switch the order of the classical compound (word).

What is the combining form of 'Christian?'

Before I posted this, I searched for an answer in the entry of 'Christian' of Merriam-Webster and Googled "(what is the) combining form of christian."

  • I can't think of an example where it is used, but I would have thought 'Christo'. – WS2 Sep 22 '14 at 7:00
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    'What is the combining form' implies that the bound morpheme exists. Such words might well be useful, and may well come to exist, but I can't find any. To quote Cerberus: 'The point of productivity is not that you can add [an affix] to any word you please, but that it can be added to some words to create new words.' I'd suggest that WS2's offering might well be taken as 'relating to Christ', as in 'Christology'. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 22 '14 at 7:08
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    @medica (1) No, I didn't specifically "attempt to google 'Christo-'", but I did "at least the most rudimentary of work before asking here" such as checking for my answer in the Merriam-Webster entry for "Christian" and Googling "(what is the) combining form of christian". (2) You make the assumption that I'm supposed to have searched for "Christo-" and not something else like "Christi-". Why? (3) What do you expect me to read in the help section? – NiteCyper Sep 22 '14 at 7:42
  • It's entirely wholly bizarre that this question was voted down. I've already learned what a "combining form" is, and thanks to WS2's answer I now know it is "Christo-" in this case. And more! It seems way too advanced for ELL, so it's hard to see why it is not a Well Regarded question here. – Fattie Sep 22 '14 at 7:58
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    ah! the word editor thing ruined my "Holy" joke – Fattie Sep 22 '14 at 7:58
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Christo-, per Oxford Dictionaries (not OED), is the combining form for that which relates to Christ e.g. Christocentric.

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    But perhaps more relevantly, 'Christen-' occurs in 'Christendom'. 'Relating to Christianity' and 'relating to Christ' are not as synonymous as they ought to be. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 22 '14 at 7:17
  • so how come it's not "Christen-" then? – Fattie Sep 22 '14 at 7:59
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    Not to confuse between Christ and Christian. The Q is not about a combining form for Christ. – Kris Sep 27 '14 at 5:18
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Right off hand, I do not have a canonical (no pun intended) answer to this, but can say this much, which should be pretty much obvious to anyone:

Christian is a noun-form use of what is essentially an adjective. As such, we cannot have a combining (o-) form of it.

Christian itself is sufficient in the function for combinations as it is already an adjective.

Whence,
Christian-Jewish, Christian-Judaic perhaps? (depending on context, as required.)

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"Christo-" may be technically correct, as per the other answer, (even though I can't think of any words which use it), but I think in day-to-day speech a native speaker would be more likely to use "Christiano-" if they needed to invent a word on the spot.

For example (politics aside, talking only about usage): the word "Islamophobia" is gaining a lot of traction these days, and (very) occasionally you hear people talking about "Christianophobia" alongside it. Such as in the title of this book.

EDIT: I wrote this in a comment, I think it's worth adding to my main answer:

I think the real answer to the original question is "there isn't one", or "it depends". We're trying to look for the "correct" word based on obscure etymological rules, but most native speakers won't know those rules or care about them and there's very few contexts where we'd need to use a "combining form"

  • What about "Christendom" ? – Fattie Sep 22 '14 at 12:19
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    Yep, that word is well-known, but using "Christen-" in another context ("Christenphobia"?) doesn't sound right to me. I think the real answer to the original question is "there isn't one", or "it depends". We're trying to look for the "correct" word based on obscure etymological rules, but most native speakers won't know those rules or care about them and there's very few contexts where we'd need to use a "combining form" of Christian anyway. – GMA Sep 22 '14 at 12:25
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    A great point - the "real answer" is there isn't one, or just "Christian" per se – Fattie Sep 22 '14 at 12:28

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