Actual, recent usage

I encountered a new term recently, referring to a person to be (or has been) baptized: the "baptizand". The context is this 2022 video Rebutting Gavin Ortlund on Baptismal Regeneration (minutes 16:38-17:12) where Gavin Ortlund used the term twice in the same paragraph:

Two of the specific points of emphasis in the Baptist tradition for what God is doing through baptism because it’s not just us show our faith or something, God is at work in it. One is the emphasis upon the gathered community, it’s not just for the [baptizand], it’s for everyone who is gathered. And it’s giving a visible portrait of the Gospel to everyone who is present, and God is communicating grace to those who observe in faith. And so the language of sign and seal that you find throughout the reform tradition, that isn’t just with reference to the [baptizand].

although the transcriber (I think) makes a mistake in rendering it "baptizeined" in the transcript, maybe owing to the rarity of this word in common usage, although I'm pretty sure Gavin got it from recent scholarly books on baptism referenced by Wiktionary. The way Gavin pronounced it validates that he really meant "baptizand" and that he meant it as a technical term since he also used "baptized" a lot, although never "baptizee".

Later on, Gavin used it once more:

It’s really interesting, the whole set of catechetical lectures opens with this warning about Simon the Magician in Acts 8 who’s baptized, and he doesn’t have faith. And it says that basically his baptism does nothing for him. And he’s offering all these warning throughout of basically don’t be a Simon. And he says if you don’t repent, the water will receive you but the spirit will not accept you. And he says this throughout. In lecture three section four, he says, “Neither does he that is baptized with water but not found worthy of the spirit receive the grace and perfection.” Now, this is not going to be a problem for all views of baptismal regeneration but to the extent that you get infant baptism and then a disconnect between the regenerative work of baptism and saving faith in the [baptizand]. These passages are going to require some kind of explanation.

My question

Short of simply emailing Gavin himself, I wonder whether there is a difference in meaning between "the baptizand" and "the baptized"? It is clear that "baptized" means a person already baptized. Maybe "baptizand" refers to a candidate for baptism? Or maybe it is simply to refer to one of the party in the scene of the baptism ceremony?

There is also the word "baptizee". How is it different than "baptizand"? Can I substitute "baptizee" for "baptized"? Or can "baptizee" only be used prior to baptism? Can we thus infer that "baptizee" is different from "baptizand" in that the former doesn't have the "candidate" connotation? Or is "baptizee" interchangeable with "baptizand" as a word pointing to one of the parties in the ceremony?

Is there an etymological connection between the three, or regional variations in which the three terms are used?

  • 4
    The -and suffix to mean "the object of a verb" is pretty rare in English. I'd never heard of baptizand before; I can think of operand and multiplicand, but that's about it.
    – stangdon
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 16:15
  • 3
    It's a new one on me, but an ordinand is a candidate for ordination. I suspect that baptizand refers to the candidate at the time of the ceremony. Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 16:19
  • 2
    It's interesting that 3 of us came up with 4 different examples of the form - none of them common. My favourite regex dictionary returns 131 nouns ending -and. "Analysand" is a clear addition, but "ligand" in chemistry appears to be formed the same way. "Baptisand" and "graduand" don't make that list
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 16:21
  • @ChrisH Interesting to see the etymology of ligand - I never made the connection between ligand and ligature before, but there it is: ligand is basically "that which is tied"!
    – stangdon
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 16:29
  • 1
    For what it's worth, the suffix of operand, multiplicand, and baptizand is essentially the same as the suffixes of dividend (literally "that which is to be divided"), propaganda (literally "that which is to be propagated"), and agenda (literally "those which are to be done"), as well as the name Amanda (literally "she who is to be loved"). Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 1:45

2 Answers 2


You link to Wiktionary, which doesn't support your "(or has been)" with examples. All of the examples are clear that the baptisand is in the process of being baptised, or at least it's imminent. Once they've been baptised, "baptised" is a more appropriate term.

You might compare "graduand" (wiktionary again) - one who is about to graduate. In my experience it's only used for students in the context of their degree ceremony. Until shortly before the ceremony they're a student, by the end of the ceremony they're a graduate.

The common feature of the etymology of these and the examples in the comments, is the Latin gerundive, in the first conjugation, with the -us ending dropped in English. The Wikipedia article on the gerundive has some related formations (including the female names Amanda and Miranda) and further reading.

  • I should have clicked on the triangle to read the quotations. I recognize the authors of the 4 quotations, all eminent and recent Christian scholars, so those samples are good ones to cull for dictionary purposes. Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 16:28
  • Sorry, I added "baptizee" into the mix. It would be great if you could update your answer. Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 16:37
  • 2
    I'll point you to "employee", absentee, apraisee (one who is employed, absent, or being appraised), etc. for comparison. The -ee suffix is more common than -and, coming from the French past participle ending . With baptizee appearing in few dictionaries (and most of them identical), I can only speculate that it would refer to someone during the process, like baptisand.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 16:45
  • 3
    -ee is a more productive suffix in current English than -and for "a person having something done to or for them". -and tends to get used only in technical contexts (technical in this case being to do with the Christian hierarchy and administration). So it is not at all surprising that somebody would invent the word "baptizee" for a person about to be baptised. The iWeb corpus has two instances of baptizee and one each of baptisee, baptizand and baptisand.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 16:48
  • 1
    @ColinFine I agree. I couldn't find enough on bapti[zs]ee to add it to my answer.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 16:50

None of these are very common.

Adult baptism is relatively unusual (in my culture) so the person to be baptized would normally be called "the baby". No special word is needed.

If one needed a more specific term, I'd probably use "the candidate for baptism", and this is supported by this ELU answer. "The candidate" would be clear, in context.

"Baptizand" is the kind of word that might be made up on the spot on the model of "graduand", and mean a person who has recently been baptised, or sometimes, the person who is to be baptised (there is some variation between Christians on whether baptism is symbolic or sacramental, for some the ceremony with the water is merely a celebration of joining the faith, rather than something magical). It's not a word that has any significant currency.

In theory the recently baptized is just "A Christian". Again, no special word is needed.

In 50 years I doubt I've ever seen or used such a word. Attempts to analyse the etymology seem pointless, since there isn't sufficient evidence of use over history.

  • Yes, I have never heard it before myself, but based on usage in recent scholarly literature as well as recent oral usage (2022) by a credo-baptist theologian / Baptist pastor who knows what he is talking about (see my edit in the Q), if I were a lexicographer I have to include it in my dictionary, hence relevance to this SE. Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 20:50
  • That might make it better for English Language & Usage more than here
    – James K
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 0:43

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