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Noel (or noël, sometimes written as nowell in English) is an alternate word for Christmas. The word comes from the French word Noël meaning "Christmas" which derives from the Old French word noël, a variant of nael. The Latin origin is the word natalis ("birth").

According to the 18th century Irish linguist and historian Charles Vallencey, a more ancient common origin appears in the Hebrew word nolah (Hebrew letters nuwn waw lamed he), meaning "to bring forth young." Subsequently, the Irish named December Mi Nolagh[citation needed], meaning "the month of the newborn." The Irish word for Christmas day was simply Nolagh.[1]