One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In 16th-cent. Germany: a Lutheran who secretly adheres to Calvinist principles; a Philippist, a Melanchthonian. Also more generally: any secret adherent of Calvinism.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in Archibald Maclaine (1722–1804), Presbyterian minister and historian. From crypto- + Calvinist, partly after post-classical Latin crypto-Calvinista and German Kryptokalvinist, † Cryptokalvinist.
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