"Merry Christmas"

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Sat Dec 25 20:05:23 UTC 2004

On Dec 25, 2004, at 11:47 AM, Barbara Need wrote:

>> a correspondent asks, in a message with the header "Happy Christmas":
>> -----
>> Why do USAns usually say '"merry" Christmas'?
>> Okay, not "why", but where did the tradition start?
>> ------
> ... I was recently rereading an Agatha Christie in which someone wishes
> another person "Merry Christmas", so the question may be, when the
> British start saying "Happy Christmas"?

but "happy" is  (now, at least) the usual, default adjective for such
wishes: happy birthday/anniversary/Easter/New Year's/Mother's Day/...
"merry" stands out .


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