Do You Know the Meanings of These Christmas Carol Words?

imagesChristmas carols. You listen to them.You sing them.
But do you know the meanings of all the words?

Xmas-Quiz.jpg

Let’s see if you can guess the meanings of the words and phrases in boldface type. (Answers below)

From “Away in a Manger”
“The cattle are lowing; the poor baby wakes.”

From “Deck the Halls”
“Troll the ancient Yuletide carol.”

From “The Wassail Song”
“Here we come a-wassailing among the leaves so green”

wen5From “Good King Wenceslas”
“Good King Wenceslas looked out on the Feast of Stephen
“Sire, he lives a good league hence underneath the mountain”

From “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”
“Still through the cloven skies they come”

4504007_640pxFrom “Ding Dong Merrily on High.”
“Ding dong, verily the sky is riv’n with angel singing”

From “Oh, Come All Ye Faithful”
“We too would thither bend our joyful footsteps.”

From “Angels We Have Heard On High”
“Gloria in excelsis Deo.”

Two bonus questions . . .

Which song title has the correct punctuation?
“God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen”
“God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”

What does the word “carol” mean?

Answers:

carolers-christmas-carolers-nyc-new-york-mistletones-hipster-carolers-new-york-city-holiday-singers-seo31

Lowing is that low mooing sound that cows make.

To troll means “to sing loudly.”

A-wassailing is going door-to-door singing Christmas carols.

The Feast of Stephen is a special day held in the Catholic Church on December 26 in honor of St. Stephen; it is also known as “Boxing Day.” League is a distance measure equaling about three miles.

Cloven means “split” or “divided in two.” In this song it refers to clouds parting in the sky to reveal God’s angels.

Verily is a synonym for “truly” and riven is another adjective for “split.”

Thither bend means “to move toward something.”

Gloria in excelsis Deo is is Latin for “Glory to God in the highest”.

“God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” is correct, not “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen.” The phrase “rest ye merry” is used here to mean “rest assured.”

Carol comes from the Greek word “choros” which means “dancing in a circle,” and from the French word “carole” which means, “a song to accompany dancing.”

How well did you do?

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4 Comments

Filed under Christmas, fun with words, Uncategorized, unusual words, words

4 responses to “Do You Know the Meanings of These Christmas Carol Words?

  1. actually a-wassailing isn’t sing carols it is going door to door and collecting alcohol remnants in a bowl. the combined remnants were called wassail and was enjoyed by the poor as a Christmas punch called wassail so wassailing was to go collect the last of the riches Christmas Libations or so I was taught at Santa School.

  2. I enjoyed this little exercise in ancient vocabulary! How clever of you to think of it. One note: I knew the answer to God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, but the right answer didn’t appear in the quiz part of your post. You may want to make a correction.

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