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.
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