- a benevolent figure of legend, associated with Saint Nicholas, supposed to bring gifts to children on Christmas Eve.
- the legendary patron saint of children, commonly identified with Saint Nicholas, who brings presents to children on Christmas Eve or, in some European countries, on Saint Nicholas’ DayOften shortened to: Santa Also called: Father Christmas
n.1773 (as St. A Claus, in “New York Gazette”), American English, 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 (e.g. Japanese santakurosu).