I have noticed that in the Spanish translated bible the name of Jesus when putting it together with Christ has dropped the letter s to compound it one word. Why was this done? Also in other parts of the Spanish bible I notice that when its a stand alone name reference it is spelled correctly as we do in the English language. Please help as this is very important for me to know why this was done.

(as asked on christianity.stackexchange.com)


3 Answers 3


In Old Spanish the form was Ihesu Xpisto (pronounced iesu cristo1, [je.zuˈkɾis.to]), transcribed from the letterforms of the Ancient Greek Ἰησοῦς Χριστός (Iēsoûs Khristós).

So in the transliteration from the Greek, there is already apocope of (both words') final consonants.

The Latin form itself, Iēsus is declined in the genitive as Iēsū.

So there present a number of reasons this may have happened:

  1. Normalisation of the Old Spanish phrase Ihesu Xpisto to Spanish orthography.
  2. Use of the genitive form of the Latin.
  3. Syncope/apocope that occasionally happens with the first word in Spanish compound words, e.g.
    • alto y bajo > altibajo
    • veinte y uno > veintiuno
    • amigo‎ novio > amigovio
    • boca abajo > bocabajo

1. yesu / iesu / hiesu - y has ambiguous value as a consonant, depending on Spanish dialect (sheísmo, zheísmo etc), though it has precedent as being used to transliterate semi-vowel/consonantal initial i before e:

Yécora (en euskera Ekora o Iekora y oficialmente Yécora/Iekora)


Sometimes you lose one of the sounds when forming new words by composition.

sacacorchos (sacar + corchos)

quitamanchas (quitar + manchas)

buenaventura (buena + aventura)

Probably the "S" at the end of "Jesus" was progressively lost to ease the pronunciation of the composed word "Jesuscristo".

From "Jesús Cristo (Jesus the Messiah)" to "Jesuscristo" to Jesucristo.

  • 3
    Actually, in sacacorches and quitamanches, you don't lose any letters. The formula for thing-doers in Spanish is [verbo 3.a persona singular] + [sustantivo en plural] (with singular objects like sol being the only ones left singular). Mar 16, 2015 at 20:37
  • 1
    @guifa, True, and my example with "buenaventura" or "telaraña" is not good either, since we lose a letter that is being repeated. If I can think of better examples I'll update the answer. Maybe I should have used "cloliflor" or "rojiblanco" to point how the letters may change to adequate to an easier pronunciation.
    – Diego
    Mar 16, 2015 at 21:10
  • 2
    Maricarmen, veintidós
    – Rodrigo
    Mar 16, 2015 at 22:36
  • @Rodrigo, sí, esos serían los mejores ejemplos.
    – Diego
    Mar 17, 2015 at 1:45

This is another case where the Spanish language changes words to ease pronunciation.
There are many examples. We call this pastry "medialunas" in Argentina ("half moons"), instead of the more proper "medias lunas".

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