I wonder if "Merry Christmas" is something brought over by the Elizabethans and then retained by the Americans, whereupon the British switched to "Happy" Christmas in later generations. I don't hear "merry" in the States except in holiday context ,or as in "Merry Widow Waltz" or "Merry Wives of Windsor."
David H
~~
1 2
I wonder if "Merry Christmas" is something brought over by the Elizabethans and then retained by the Americans, whereupon the ... in the States except in holiday context ,or as in "Merry Widow Waltz" or "Merry Wives of Windsor." David H

The advantage of "Merry Christmas" is than one can then proceed to say "and Happy New Year without repetition"

Scots who say "Happy Christmas" can follow with
"and a Good New Year"
I wonder if "Merry Christmas" is something brought over by the Elizabethans and then retained by the Americans, whereupon the ... "Merry Widow Waltz" or "Merry Wives of Windsor." David H ~~There is Robin Hood and his merry band of men.

Merry Maids, a chain of brokers for cleaning personnel, especially for claining homes.
And many of these, though not all are American of course: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&channel=s&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&... =

And in NYC there is the challange to learn how to say merry, Mary, and marry, all differently. Real New Yorkers can do it. People who came from out of town, like me, often can't.

Posters should say where they live, and for which area they are asking questions. I was born and then lived in Western Pa. 10 years
Indianapolis 7 years
Chicago 6 years
Brooklyn, NY 12 years
Baltimore 26 years
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I wonder if "Merry Christmas" is something brought over by ... Widow Waltz" or "Merry Wives of Windsor." David H ~~

There is Robin Hood and his merry band of men. Merry Maids, a chain of brokers for cleaning personnel, especially ... marry, all differently. Real New Yorkers can do it. People who came from out of town, like me, often can't.

But, of course, "happy" and "merry" are not the same thing. "Happy" can simply be being in a state of solitary contentment. Being "merry" is usually a group activity, involving jollity, carousing and bonhomie.
Ian
There is Robin Hood and his merry band of men. ... who came from out of town, like me, often can't.

But, of course, "happy" and "merry" are not the same thing. "Happy" can simply be being in a state of solitary contentment. Being "merry" is usually a group activity, involving jollity, carousing and bonhomie.

The less boisterous meanings of "merry" have become obsolete.

OED:
I. That causes pleasure.
1. a. Of an occupation, event, state, or condition: causing pleasureor happiness; pleasing, delightful. Obs.
b. With implied impersonal subject and indirect object denoting the person characterized by happiness or joy. Cf. sense 4a. Obs.

c. Of music, speech, etc.: pleasing to the ear, pleasant to hear. Of a musical instrument: producing a sweet sound; (of a bird) having a pleasant song. (In later use passing into sense 5.) Obs. d. Of a place or country: pleasant, agreeable in character. Obs.

e. Of weather, climate, a season, a day, etc.: pleasant, fine. Of a wind: favourable for sailing. Also fig. Obs.
The sense is attested earliest as a surname.
f. Of looks or appearance: pleasing to behold, attractive. Obs.

g. Of an odour: pleasant, fragrant. Of a fruit, plant, etc.: sweet-smelling, aromatic. Obs.
All recorded instances of this sense are translations of post-classical Latin jocundus in Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum.
2. Of a tale, saying, jest, etc.: amusing, diverting, funny.Now only with mixture of sense 5.
3. a. Of sunlight, moonlight, etc.: bright. Obs.

b. Of an article of clothing, an ornament, etc.: fine, handsome, brightly coloured. Obs.
II. Characterized by happiness or joy.
4. a. Full of animated enjoyment (in early use chiefly withreference to feasting or sporting); full of laughter or cheerfulness; joyous. Also of a person's general disposition: given to joyousness or mirth.
b. Happy, pleased, content. Obs.
c. Boisterous or cheerful due to alcohol; slightly drunk, tipsy. Cf. market-merry adj. at MARKET n. Compounds 2, merry-drunk adj. at MERRY adv. Compounds 1.
d. Jocular, humorous, witty. Also with on, upon, with (a person). Now only in to make merry at Phrases 1a. Obs.
5. a. Expressive of merriment; characterized by cheerfulness orexuberant gaiety; festive, joyful, jolly.
b. Of a season or festival: characterized by celebration and rejoicing. Freq. in Merry Christmas! and other seasonal greetings.

Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.english.usage)
(Email Removed), Ulysses at Grasmere (Email Removed) writes
The less boisterous meanings of "merry" have become obsolete. OED: ... and other seasonal greetings. Peter Duncanson, UK (in alt.english.usage)

~~ So the conclusion is..."Happy Christmas" is a Scot preference and the southerners still say "Merry Christmas." Have I got this right ? David H ~~

Well, traditionally, Scots tend(ed) to keep Christmas as a one-day religious celebration, with no public holiday following on Boxing Day. Their "merry" celebration is New Year, when (it is rumoured) vast amounts of alcohol are sometimes drunk. In recognition of this fact, Jan
2 is wisely a public holiday, for sobering up. However, while I doubtthat, for Christmas, the Scots actually 'prefer' "Happy" to "Merry", the greeting "A Guid (Good) New Year" is 100% theirs.

Ian
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
I wonder if "Merry Christmas" is something brought over by the Elizabethans and then retained by the Americans, whereupon the ... hear "merry" in the States except in holiday context ,or as in "Merry Widow Waltz" or "Merry Wives of Windsor."

Many Brits (myself included) still say "Merry Christmas". I know that both "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Christmas" are in use where I live in England. Personally I prefer "Merry Christmas", and reserve "Happy ..." for use with Birthdays (which is odd given that Christmas is celebrating a birthday!)

FWIW: "Merry Christmas" and "Merry Xmas" (from your subject line) are not the same. Merry Xmas is more likely to give offense to a Christian, whereas to a non-Christian both are probably equivalent.

Brian Cryer
www.cryer.co.uk/brian
I wonder if "Merry Christmas" is something brought over by ... as in "Merry Widow Waltz" or "Merry Wives of Windsor."

Many Brits (myself included) still say "Merry Christmas". I know that both "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Christmas" are in use ... same. Merry Xmas is more likely to give offense to a Christian, whereas to a non-Christian both are probably equivalent.


No you're confusing two separate festivals. Xmas is a commercial festival, starting in about mid-September, and finishing on 25 December, whereas Christmas is a religious festival between 24 December and 6 January.

With best wishes,
Peter.

Peter Young, (BrE, RP), Consultant Anaesthetist, 1975-2004. (US equivalent: Certified Anesthesiologist)
Cheltenham and Gloucester, UK. Now happily retired. http://pnyoung.orpheusweb.co.uk
I wonder if "Merry Christmas" is something brought over by ... as in "Merry Widow Waltz" or "Merry Wives of Windsor."

Many Brits (myself included) still say "Merry Christmas". I know that both "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Christmas" are in use ... "Merry Christmas", and reserve "Happy ..." for use with Birthdays (which is odd given that Christmas is celebrating a birthday!)

Yes, but. "Happy Birthday" is said to the person whose birthday it is (P). It is not said to other people at a party or other celebration of P's birthday.
I have never heard of a church in which this "hymn" has been sung on Christmas Day:
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday dear Jesus,
Happy birthday to you.
FWIW: "Merry Christmas" and "Merry Xmas" (from your subject line) are not the same. Merry Xmas is more likely to give offense to a Christian, whereas to a non-Christian both are probably equivalent.

Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.english.usage)
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