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The name Jesus translates simply as Jesús, and Christ as Christo. So why is Jesus Christ translated as Jesucristo rather than Jesús Cristo or Cristo Jesús?

Google gives me a plethora of explanations for the origin of the name Jesús or the term Cristo (which are quite similar to the origins of the respective words in English), but I'm curious about the origin of the contraction Jesucristo. So far my searching has found nothing about the history of this word.

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Not an answer as this is just a theory. It's just shortening. The "s-c" in Jesús Cristo is not very natural sounding and it's quite natural to drop the s to "jesucristo". Although I cannot find more examples of this. But the basque shorten Jesús to "Chus", and "Jesús María" to "Chumari" (or Tx instead of Ch in a more basque-y spelling). –  alex Dec 9 '11 at 10:56
<removed obsolete comments> –  Flimzy Dec 31 '11 at 7:57
To add to alex's comment: I think this is also connected to a stress change. "Jesús" is strongly stressed, but in "Jesucristo", the 'u' losses totally the stress. For some phonetic reason, it doesn't feel natural to keep the 's'. –  leonbloy Jan 11 '12 at 15:35

5 Answers 5

In many dialects (or forms, if you wish) of Spanish, the S before a consonant transforms into an aspirated sound very similar to the english H.
So imagine something like Jesuhcristo and it's only logical that it ends up like Jesucristo

* Yes, the S in Cristo could have suffered the same process, so there's a hole in my theory. :D

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Interesting. Can you provide some additional examples where this is true? –  Flimzy Jan 2 '12 at 22:18
Not sure, jesucristo is the only one I can think of right now. Anyway it's just speculation. But I'll post some if can remember. –  Petruza Jan 3 '12 at 0:24
It sounds like an interesting theory... but if that's the only case, then it's not much of a pattern :) Yes, if you think of others, please let us know! –  Flimzy Jan 3 '12 at 0:29
I cannot validate, but this does really sound feasible. The difference between the two Ss is really the phonetic emphasis they get because of their position in the word. Sadly, I cannot come up with any other examples right now. I will ask a language expert and see what she has to tell me on this later. –  Alpha Jan 6 '12 at 18:17

In Spanish counpound words (and I guess names too) the first word almost always ends in a vowel.


Besides this makes it alot easier to say too! =)

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Well, that doesn't say anything about what happens when the first words does not end in a vowel. –  leonbloy Oct 28 '14 at 13:50

lt might come from Latin, perhaps because all the declensions but two are Iesu (nominative Iesus, and accusative Iesum), v.g. Jesu Christi. This might have lead to a hyphenated use in Spanish as Jesu-Christo. The RAE erased the h. And, I don't know when or how, it got merged. (Still, I realize it's just a theory. Somehow I managed to be sure, so I checked and I'm editing this. I apologize.)

  • Christ means Messiah, not king.

You can absolutely say/translate it as Cristo Jesús. It is perfectly fine, and perhaps more appropriate than Jesucristo.

You cannot say Jesús Cristo, even if it's right, because it is not commonplace at all. But I would agree and advocate for writing "Jesu-Christo" as it was before,

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The term "Cristo Jesús" does occur in several places in the Bible. For example, in Efesios 2:10.


I think this follows the word order chosen in the original Greek. The English translations do the same thing. Paul sometimes uses one word order, sometimes the other.

As to why "Jesús Cristo" becomes "Jesucristo", I concur with the repsonders who theorize that it rolls off the tongue easier, and that's why it evolved that way.

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Most likely it is a mix of Spanish and Greek.

JesuCristo => Jesus + Cristo Jesus (no explanation needed right?) Cristo comes from greek Xristo, which was a way to refer to the kings of Israel, so at the end Jesucristo is some kind of "Jesus, the king".

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This does not answer the question: why is it Jesucristo instead of Jesuscristo? –  Gorpik Oct 28 '14 at 11:05

protected by Diego Dec 24 '14 at 1:59

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