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Crystal is one of the 117 mis-spellings listed as 'Common difficulties' in the section on 'Spelling' within 'Writing' in UEfAP. It is spelled correctly here.

  • Until the nineteenth century (and it is not unknown for students even now), the word was often written with an '-h-' after the 'c-'. This is an error; but it is accepted as one spelling of the forename (Chrystal), which has found some use as a surname.
Etymological note: Hanks, Hardcastle and Hodges (2006) suggest that the spelling Chrystal for the forename may be "influenced by Greek khrysos [χρυσός] 'gold'." It may also be a result of English being impressed by the 'exotic' nature of the Greek letter χ ('Chi'); but the Greek original of 'crystal' is κρύσταλλος ('krustallos') 'clear ice', written with a κ (kappa, ~ our '-k-') and not χ. This is related to the later κρυστάλλεσθαι ('krustallesthai'), 'to be congealed', and thus linked to κρύος ('kruos') 'frost', which gives modern science its cryogenic studies, dealing with very low temperatures. (It is also related to 'crust', from Latin crusta 'rim', 'hard shell'; the congealed (solid) surface of a liquid original - as ice is of water.)