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Posted by TheFallen on November 21, 2002

In Reply to: 'Tis posted by ESC on November 21, 2002

: : : : It seems that EVERYONE prefaces just about EVERYTHING with "'tis the season" this time of year... 'tis the season to shop, 'tis the season to wrap gifts, 'tis the season to celebrate... does anyone know the origin of that phrase? Would it predate the song "Deck the Halls," or did that carol popularize it? I'm a reporter writing a story on this so any help is much appreciated!

: : : It is a contraction of "this is":

: : : Main Entry: 'tis
: : : Pronunciation: 'tiz, (")tiz, t&z
: : : Etymology: contraction
: : : Date: 15th century
: : : : it is

: : I was amazed to hear a professor from the Bristol University using the words 'Tis, 'tisn't and shan't' It was wonderful.

: Now why couldn't Dru ask something like the origin of Merry Christmas or Christmas cards or "x shopping days until Christmas." That I know. Regarding 'tis I have nothing.

I can happily confirm that, although 'tis is not often heard in the urban south of England, the contraction shan't is very common, and you still hear amn't used too.