Etymology
Advertisement
baptism (n.)
"initiatory sacrament of the Christian faith, consisting in immersion in or application of water by an authorized administrator," c. 1300, bapteme, from Old French batesme, bapteme "baptism" (11c., Modern French baptême), from Latin baptismus, from Greek baptismos, noun of action from baptizein (see baptize). The -s- was restored in late 14c.

The signification, qualifications, and methods of administration have been much debated. Figurative sense "any ceremonial ablution as a sign of purification, dedication, etc." is from late 14c. Old English used fulluht in this sense (John the Baptist was Iohannes se Fulluhtere).

Phrase baptism of fire "a soldier's first experience of battle" (1857) translates French baptême de feu; the phrase originally was ecclesiastical Greek baptisma pyros and meant "the grace of the Holy Spirit as imparted through baptism;" later it was used of martyrdom, especially by burning.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
baptismal (adj.)
1640s, from baptism + -al (1). Related: Baptismally.
Related entries & more 
baptistry (n.)
"part of a church (or separate building) set aside for baptisms," c. 1300, from Old French baptisterie and directly from Medieval Latin; see baptism + -ery.
Related entries & more 
godson (n.)
"male child one sponsors at baptism," c. 1200, from God + son, replacing or modifying Old English godsunu.
Related entries & more 
christen (v.)

c. 1200, "to baptize into the Christian church," from Old English cristnian "to baptize," literally "to make Christian," from cristen "Christian" (see Christian). Especially to baptize and name as an infant, hence "give a name to at baptism" (mid-15c.) and the general sense of "give a name to" anything, without reference to baptism (1530s). Related: Christened; christening.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
godmother (n.)
woman who sponsors one at baptism, late 13c., from God + mother (n.1); modifying or replacing Old English godmodor.
Related entries & more 
god-daughter (n.)
"female godchild, girl one sponsors at her baptism," mid-13c., from god + daughter, modifying or replacing Old English goddohtor.
Related entries & more 
godchild (n.)
"child one sponsors at baptism," c. 1200, "in ref. to the spiritual relation assumed to exist between them" [Century Dictionary], from God + child. The Old English word was godbearn
Related entries & more 
baptize (v.)
"to administer the rite of baptism to," c. 1300, from Old French batisier "be baptized; baptize; give a name to" (11c.), from Latin baptizare, from Greek baptizein "immerse, dip in water," also figuratively, "be over one's head" (in debt, etc.), "to be soaked (in wine);" in Christian use, "baptize;" from baptein "to dip, steep, dye, color," perhaps from PIE root *gwabh- (1) "to dip, sink." Christian baptism originally was a full immersion. Related: Baptized; baptizing.
Related entries & more 
font (n.1)
"water basin," especially used in baptism, late Old English, from Latin fons (genitive fontis) "fountain" (see fountain), especially in Medieval Latin fons baptismalis "baptismal font." The word is sometimes used poetically for "a fountain; a source."
Related entries & more