AskDefine | Define Christ

Dictionary Definition



1 a teacher and prophet born in Bethlehem and active in Nazareth; his life and sermons form the basis for Christianity (circa 4 BC - AD 29) [syn: Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, the Nazarene, Jesus Christ, Savior, Saviour, Good Shepherd, Redeemer, Deliverer]
2 any expected deliverer [syn: messiah]

User Contributed Dictionary



crist, from Chrīstus, from , noun use of ‘anointed’, in translation of Hebrew māshīaχ ‘anointed’ (see messiah).


  • /kraɪst/
  • /"kraIst/
  • Rhymes: -aɪst

Proper noun

  1. The ‘Lord's anointed one’ or messiah predicted in Jewish prophecy.
    For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24)
  2. italbrac literally The title given to Jesus of Nazareth, seen as fulfilling messianic prophecy; often treated as a personal name.


the messiah who was named Jesus


  1. A figure or other artistic depiction of Jesus Christ.


A figure or other artistic depiction of Jesus Christ


  1. An expletive, whose use is considered blasphemous in some Christian sects.




  • /krist/
Jésus-Christ: /ʒezykri/ (Catholic), /ʒezykrist/ (Protestant)

Proper noun

Christ (Catholic) , le Christ (Protestant) m
  1. Christ



  1. a Christian (male) (female=Christin)

Extensive Definition

Christ is the English term for the Greek (khristos) meaning "the anointed". In the (Greek) Septuagint version of the Old Testament, khristos was used to translate the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (,) (Messiah), meaning "[one who is] anointed." Christianity states that Christ was fully human as well as fully God, while the Jewish tradition understands The Messiah to be a human being – without any overtone of deity or divinity.
Followers of Jesus became known as Christians because they believed that Jesus is the messiah, or christ. The majority of Jews reject this claim and are still waiting for the messiah to come (see Jewish Messiah).
The area of Christian theology focusing on the nature of Jesus as the christ, particularly with how the divine and human are related in His person, is known as Christology.


see Chrism
The spelling Christ in English was standardized in the 17th century, when, in the spirit of the Enlightenment, spellings of certain words were changed to fit their Greek or Latin origins. Prior to this, in Old and Middle English, the word was usually spelled Crist, the i being pronounced either as /iː/ (see ), preserved in the names of churches such as St Katherine Cree, or as a short /ɪ/, preserved in the modern pronunciation of Christmas). The spelling "Christ" is attested from the 14th century. The term Christ (or similar) appears in English and most European languages, owing to the Greek usage of khristos (transcribed in Latin as Christus) in the New Testament as a description for Jesus.. In the Septuagint version of the Hebrew Bible, it was used to translate into Greek the Hebrew mashiach (messiah), meaning "[one who is] anointed". Eddy wrote that while Jesus, as a material man, was not the exact ontological or quantitative equivalent to God, he thoroughly embodied the spiritual sonship of God's nature. In Christian Science, the christ, or divine manifestation of God, continues forever to enlighten humanity and to destroy sickness, sin, and death.

Esoteric Christian tradition

See also Second Coming and Esoteric Christianity


For the Rosicrucians there is a distinction to be made between Jesus and the Christ. Jesus is considered a high Initiate of the human life wave (which evolves under the cycle of rebirth) and of a singularly pure type of mind, vastly superior to the great majority of the present humanity.
They believe he was educated during his youth among the Essenes and thus prepared himself for the greatest honor ever bestowed upon a human being: to deliver his pure, passionless, highly evolved physical body and vital body (already attuned to the high vibrations of the 'Life Spirit'), in the moment of the Baptism, to the christ being for his ministry in the physical world. Christ is described as the highest spiritual being of the life wave called Archangels and has completed his union ("the son") with the second aspect of God.

Gnostic Christ

The gnostics generally believed not in a Jesus who was a divine person with a human form, but in a spiritual christ who dwelt in Jesus. Through the spiritual path of gnosticism, followers of these schools believed that they could experience the same knowledge, or gnosis. Gnosticism, a non-hierarchical interpretation of the Christian message, was declared heresy by the formal, hierarchical Christian church at the first Ecumenical Council, which occurred at Nicaea in 325 A.D., although condemnation of the belief existed well before.

Rastas, Pharmakos, and Ancient Torah

The use of olive oil in the preparation of the anointing oil is defined in Exodus 30:22-29 [כי תשא]. Through the process of lipid-soluble herbal extraction prescribed by the ancient apothecary (Greek, pharmakos the ancient precursor of the word pharmacist) created an intoxicatingly fragrant ointment fit for kings and the High Priest. According to the Torah anything which comes into contact with the substance is made holy.
Myrrh, cinnamon and a substance called "Kaneh Bos" are listed as the ingredients. The ambiguity of this final portent possibly arose in the mid 400ADs with the (mis)translation of the Torah into Greek. The Vulgate of Emperor Theodosius rendered the substance as "fragrant reed" and many interpreted it lexically of the genus calamus. Upon further inspection however, "Kaneh" is uniformly and accurately translated to mean "Hemp" in most semitic languages including Hebrew. (The active constituent of the hemp plant is Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and it is fat soluble, furthering the evidence of its implicit use in the secret anointing oil.) The second word "Bos" refers to the portion of the angiosperm producing fragrance (the unfertilized flower), hence the translation rendering "hemp buds".
The cannabis correlation was confirmed in 1985 in a letter from Hebrew University in Jerusalem upon inquiry from the Polish etymologist and anthropologist Sula Benet (also known as Sara Benetowa). Etymologically the cognate of this predecessor to the modern English word "cannabis" was formerly believed to derive from the Greek language. The Christ of the Ancient Torah of The Most High, is none other than the sacrament of Jah Rastafari.
Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed, on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed;
-Genesis 1:29

Other Views

Matthew Fox sometimes speaks of "the Cosmic Christ."

Islamic view

Muslims believe Jesus (Isa or عيسى) to be the Messiah (Massih) and as a prophet. Although they believe in the Virgin Birth, they do not consider Jesus to be "the son of God". Jesus was neither crucified nor dead but was raised to Heaven by God while still living.
Islamic traditions narrate that He will return to earth near the day of judgement to restore justice and defeat al-Masīḥ ad-Dajjāl (lit. "the false messiah", also known as the Antichrist) and the enemies of Islam.

Hindu View

In Hinduism, God is often described by both personifications (deities), which are manifestations of particular aspects of God's power, and incarnations (avatars) of God in mortal form, as in case of Siva or Vishnu. In these religions "the christ" is akin to these personifications. A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who coined the phrase 'Krsna Consciousness', held Jesus' teachings as non-different from the Hindu, Vedic scriptures, and others such as Paramahansa Yogananda often wrote about a "Christ Consciousness" interchangeably with "Krsna Consciousness."


The use of "Χ," derived from Chi, the Greek alphabet initial, as an abbreviation for Christ (most commonly in the abbreviation "Χmas") is often misinterpreted as a modern secularization of the term. Thus understood, the centuries-old English word Χmas, is actually a shortened form of CHmas, which is, itself, a shortened form for Christmas. In fact, the use of "Χ" to represent the full word goes back to the earliest days of Greek Christianity.

Slang usage

The interjection "Christ!" is often used as a sign of surprise or anger, without a direct religious reference—that is, as an exclamation. Some Christians understand this usage to be in violation of the Commandment against taking the Lord's Name in vain, although the severity of the transgression varies among different groups of believers.
The prohibition against using interjections was taken more seriously in the past, to the point where it was not only considered socially improper, but a sin against God. This led to the creation of many circumlocutions which allowed the speaker to express the emotion while avoiding the transgression. Common euphemisms that have arisen for this usage include "For crying out loud!" (US) and "Crikey" (UK, Aus.), used as an alternative by people reluctant to use "Christ". Beginning in the latter half of the 20th century, the prohibition against using the name of the Deity as an interjection has become much more relaxed.


Further reading

  • Harpur, Tom, The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light. Toronto: Thomas Allen Publishers, 2004.
  • McDowell, Joshua and Don Stewart, Handbook of Today's Religions, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983.
  • Ott, Ludwig, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 1957.
Christ in Czech: Kristus
Christ in German: Jesus Christus
Christ in Estonian: Kristus
Christ in Spanish: Cristo
Christ in Esperanto: Kristo
Christ in Basque: Kristo
Christ in French: Christ#Religion
Christ in Galician: Cristo
Christ in Korean: 그리스도
Christ in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Christo
Christ in Icelandic: Kristur
Christ in Latin: Christus
Christ in Dutch: Christus (Jezus)
Christ in Japanese: キリスト
Christ in Portuguese: Cristo
Christ in Albanian: Krishti
Christ in Serbian: Христос
Christ in Swedish: Kristus
Christ in Tamil: கிறிஸ்த்து
Christ in Chinese: 基督

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Christ Jesus, Emmanuel, God the Son, God-man, Immanuel, Jesu, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, King of Glory, King of Heaven, King of Kings, Lamb of God, Lord Jesus, Lord of Lords, Lord our Righteousness, Messiah, Our Lord, Prince of Peace, Redeemer, Savior, Son of God, Son of Man, atonement, intercession, judgment, mediation, propitiation, redemption, salvation, the Advocate, the Anointed, the Christ, the Christ Child, the Door, the Galilean, the Good Shepherd, the Infant Jesus, the Intercessor, the Judge, the Lamb, the Life, the Master, the Mediator, the Nazarene, the Only-Begotten, the Risen, the True Vine, the Truth, the Vine, the Way
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