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Borrowed from Dutch Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas), from Middle Dutch sinter clâes, probably from sint (saint) +‎ Claes (shortened form of Nicolaas).[1][2]

The -er in the first component is of uncertain origin. Suggested to be due to the influence of other saints’ names, such as Sinter Meis (from Sint Remeis) and Sinter Makel (from Sint Remakel).[1] Also suggested is that sinter is a feminine dative form of sint, from the expression sinter claesmisse (Saint Nicolas’ mass).[2] Otherwise thought to be a dialectal form of sint or from an earlier *sinten(e) (from sint Ni-).[3] Compare also modern Dutch Sintermaarten.

Also suggested to be a contraction of sint + hêre (lord) + Claes,[4] calqued from Middle French monsieur saint Nicolas.[2] This has, however, been disputed.[1][2][3]

  1.  van der Sijs, Nicoline, editor (2010), “sinterklaas”, in Etymologiebank, Meertens Institute
  2. ↑ Jump up to:2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 J. Vercoullie (1915), “Sinterklaas”, in Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsche taal-en letterkunde[1], volume 34, page 32
  3. ↑ Jump up to:3.0 3.1 Ria Jansen-Sieben (1968), “Sinterklaas en andere sinter-namen”, in Taal en Tongval[2], volume 20, page 104
  4. G. J. Van Wyk, editor (2003) Etimologiewoordeboek van Afrikaans


  • (UK) IPA(key)/ˈsæn.təˌklɔːz/
  • (US) IPA(key)/ˈsæn.təˌklɑz//ˈsæn.təˌklɔz/
  • (General Australian) IPA(key)/ˈsæːn.təˌkloːz/

Proper noun

Santa Claus

  1. (folklore) A mythical figure said to bring presents to people (especially children) at Christmas time.
    Synonyms: Father ChristmasKris KringleSaint ClausSaint NicholasSaint NickSanta
  2. (by extension) An unlikely source of free gifts or benefits.
  3. A town in Indiana.
  4. A city in GeorgiaUnited States.
  5. A ghost town in Arizona.

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