generic for "miser," by 1905, from curmudgeonly employer in Dickens' 1843 story "A Christmas Carol." It does not appear to be a genuine English surname; in old dictionaries it is an 18c. variant of scrouge "to squeeze, press, crowd (someone)," also scrudge, etc., an 18c. provincial word that is the source of scrounge.
1773 (as St. A Claus, in "New York Gazette"), American English, in reference to the customs of the old Dutch colony of New York, from dialectal Dutch Sante Klaas, from Middle Dutch Sinter Niklaas "Saint Nicholas," bishop of Asia Minor who became a patron saint for children. Now a worldwide phenomenon (Japanese santakurosu). Father Christmas is attested from 1650s.
"evening before the first day of the new year," c. 1300; "þer þay dronken & dalten ... on nwe gerez euen." The Julian calendar began on January 1, but the Christian Church frowned on pagan celebrations of this event and chose the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) as its New Year's Day. The civic year in England continued to begin January 1 until late 12c., and even though legal documents then shifted to March 25, popular calendars and almanacs continued to begin on January 1. The calendar reform of 1751 restored the Julian New Year in England. New Year's was the main midwinter festival in Scotland from 17c., when Protestant authorities banned Christmas, and continued so after England reverted to Christmas, hence the Scottish flavor ("Auld Lang Syne," etc.). New Year's gathering in public places began 1878 in London, after new bells were installed in St. Paul's.
"obnoxious man, fool," by 1964, from Yiddish, from German putz, literally "finery, adornment," obviously used here in an ironic sense. Attested in writing earlier in slang sense of "penis" (1934, in "Tropic of Cancer"). A non-ironic sense is in putz "Nativity display around a Christmas tree" (1873), from Pennsylvania Dutch (German), which retains the old German sense.
"one who performs in a mumming, actor in a dumb show," early 15c., probably a fusion of Old French momeur "mummer" (from Old French momer "mask oneself," from momon "mask") and Middle English mommen "to mutter, be silent," which is the source of mum (interjection). "[S]pecifically, in England, one of a company of persons who go from house to house at Christmas performing a kind of play, the subject being generally St. George and the Dragon, with sundry whimsical adjuncts" [Century Dictionary].
1610s, "to sympathize as brothers," from French fraterniser, from Medieval Latin fraternizare, from Latin fraternus "brotherly" (see fraternity). Military sense of "cultivate friendship with enemy troops" is from 1897 (used in World War I with reference to the Christmas Truce). Used oddly in World War II armed forces jargon to mean "have sex with women from enemy countries" as a violation of military discipline.
A piece of frat, Wren-language for any attractive young woman — ex-enemy — in occupied territory. [John Irving, "Royal Navalese," 1946]
Related: Fraternized; fraternizing.