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Word of the Week Christmas Special: ‘Noël’



We take a closer look at the words and phrases that are trending online and in the media. This week: ‘Noël’

noel image.png

‘Tis the season to… deconstruct trending words.

In this week’s edition of Word of the Week we take a closer look at the word ‘Noël’. With and without umlauts.

It’s a word that’s been thrown around a lot this past month and indeed saw a sudden spike in searches – mainly due to Noel Edmonds and his bare chest gracing our screens on ‘I’m a Celeb’ (read: ‘I’m no longer a Celeb’).

The term is traditionally – that is, before the days of dreaded ‘chrimbo’ and ‘xmas’ – a synonym for Christmas. It hails from the Old French ‘nael’ – which in turn stems from the Latin ‘natalis’ or birth (see natal, nativity, and other connected words).

The birth in question – for those of who maybe haven’t read the Bible, been to a nativity play, or watched ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ starring Max von Sydow – is of course that of baby Jesus, born in a stable on or around 25 December 4 BC.

‘Noel’ is also a masculine Christian name, typically bestowed on children born at Christmas time.

And that includes any number of celebrities. Well, between us here at Speak Media we managed to name at least three (but that was after a few glasses of mulled wine, so don’t be too harsh on us).

There is TV’s Noel Edmonds, to whom we owe many a ‘No Deal’ Brexit meme. And, er, Mr Blobby.

Then there is of course Brit pop legend Noel Gallagher, lead singer of Oasis (who unsurprisingly is something of a hater when it comes to Christmas), and Noel Fielding, oddball cult-comedian turned household name thanks to his role presenting ‘The Great British Bake Off’.

The Urban Dictionary further enforces the idea of there being something special about anyone called ‘Noel’: “A fun guy who everyone loves. Everyone wants to be his friend because he is so cool. Noel’s are usually natural leaders who become class presidents.”

So, for those expecting a baby any time soon, especially if they’re planning to follow the Tiger parenting model, this week’s Word of the Week should leave no-el (sorry) doubt in as to what to call your Christmas child.

Joe McAweaney