Christo- + gram, c. 1900, adopted from German Christogramm, in c. 1860 as portmanteau or abbreviation of the slightly older (1840s) and more formal compound Christusmonogramm, translating the Medieval Latin monogramma Christi. English literature before 1900 used compositional "Monogram of Christ" or the rare chrismon [1860s]. The plural Christograms is recorded in the 1950s and also rare.
Christogram (plural Christograms)
- A monogram that forms an abbreviation for the name of Jesus Christ, traditionally used as a Christian symbol, such as the chi-rho (☧).
- 1903: "Had he [the creator of a Pompeiian mosaic] been a Christian, he would certainly have given expression to his faith by some definite Christian symbol, — the fish or the ΑΩ, or the Christogram." P. C., The Open Court 17, p. 185.
- 1978: "About thirty of these [markings on Pompeiian amphorae] appear to be either the so-called christograms […] or other monograms disturbingly reminiscent of the various christograms" W. O. Moeller, "Marks Names and Numbers" in: Boer (ed.), Hommages a Maarten J. Vermaseren, p. 813.