nankeen (n.) Look up nankeen at
kind of cotton cloth, 1755, from Nanking, China, where it originally was made.
Nanking Look up Nanking at
city in China, literally "southern capital," from nan "south" + jing "capital."
nanny (n.) Look up nanny at
"children's nurse," 1795, from widespread child's word for "female adult other than mother" (compare Greek nanna "aunt"). The word also is a nickname form of the fem. proper name Ann, which probably is the sense in nanny goat (1788, compare billy goat). Nanny-house "brothel" is slang from c. 1700. Nanny state, in reference to overintrusive government policies is attested by 1987, the term associated with British political leader Margaret Thatcher, who criticized the tendency.
nanny (v.) Look up nanny at
"to be unduly protective," 1954, from nanny (n.). Related: Nannied; nannying.
nano- Look up nano- at
introduced 1947 (at 14th conference of the Union Internationale de Chimie) as a prefix for units of one thousand-millionth part, from Greek nanos "a dwarf." According to Watkins, this is originally "little old man," from nannos "uncle," masc. of nanna "aunt" (see nana). Earlier it was used as a prefix to mean "dwarf, dwarfish," and still in a non-scientific sense of "very small."
nanometer (n.) Look up nanometer at
also nanometre, 1963, from nano- + meter (n.2).
nanosecond (n.) Look up nanosecond at
1959, from nano- + second (n.).
nanotechnology (n.) Look up nanotechnology at
by 1974, from nano- + technology.
Nantucket Look up Nantucket at
island off Massachusetts, early forms include Natocke, Nantican, Nautican; from an obscure southern New England Algonquian word, perhaps meaning "in the middle of waters." Related: Nantucketer.
Naomi Look up Naomi at
fem. proper name, biblical mother-in-law of Ruth, from Hebrew Na'omi, literally "my delight," from no'am "pleasantness, delightfulness," from stem of na'em "was pleasant, was lovely."
nap (n.1) Look up nap at
"downy surface of cloth," mid-15c., from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German noppe "nap, tuft of wool," probably introduced by Flemish cloth-workers. Cognate with Old English hnoppian "to pluck," ahneopan "pluck off," Old Swedish niupa "to pinch," Gothic dis-hniupan "to tear."
nap (v.1) Look up nap at
Old English hnappian "to doze, sleep lightly," of unknown origin, apparently related to Old High German hnaffezan, German dialectal nafzen, Norwegian napp. Related: Napped; napping.
nap (v.2) Look up nap at
"to furnish with a nap, raise the nap of," 1610s, from nap (n.1).
nap (n.2) Look up nap at
"short spell of sleep," c. 1300, from nap (v.). With take (v.) from c. 1400.
Napa Look up Napa at
California county noted for wines, perhaps from a Southern Patwin (Wiuntun) word meaning "homeland."
napalm (n.) Look up napalm at
1942, from na(phthenic) palm(itic) acids, used in manufacture of the chemical that thickens gasoline. The verb is 1950, from the noun. Related: Napalmed; napalming.
nape (n.) Look up nape at
"back of the neck," c. 1300, of unknown origin, perhaps from Old French hanap "a goblet," in reference to the hollow at the base of the skull. "The entire absence of forms with initial k makes it difficult to connect the word with the apparently synonymous OFris (hals) knap [OED].
naphtha (n.) Look up naphtha at
inflammable liquid distilled from petroleum, 1570s, from Latin, from Greek naphtha "bitumen," perhaps from Persian neft "pitch," or Aramaic (Semitic) naphta, nephta, but these could as well be from Greek. In Middle English as napte (late 14c.), from Old French napte, but the modern word is a re-introduction.
naphthalene (n.) Look up naphthalene at
1821, coined by English chemist John Kidd (1775-1851), who first isolated and studied it, from naphtha + chemical suffix -ine (2) + -l- for the sake of euphony.
napkin (n.) Look up napkin at
late 14c., "a table napkin," from nape "a tablecloth" (from Old French nape "tablecloth, cloth cover, towel," from Latin mappa; see map (n.)) + Middle English -kin "little." No longer felt as a diminutive. The Old French diminutive was naperon (see apron). The shift of Latin -m- to -n- was a tendency in Old French (conter from computare, printemps from primum, natte "mat, matting," from matta). Middle English also had naperie "linen objects; sheets, tablecloths, napkins, etc.;" also, "place where the linens are kept."
Naples Look up Naples at
city in southern Italy, Italian Napoli, founded by Greek coloniests 5c. B.C.E., from Greek Neapolis, literally "New City," from nea, fem. of neos "new" (see neo-) + polis "city" (see polis).
Napoleon Look up Napoleon at
used in reference to various qualities and things associated with 19c. French emperors of that name, especially Napoleon I (Bonaparte) (1769-1821), such as a gold coin issued by his government and worth 20 francs. As a 12-pound artillery piece, in use in U.S. military from 1857 (in this case, from Napoleon III (1808-1873), under whose rule it was designed). As a type of boot, by 1860; as a card game, by 1876; as a type of rich cake, from 1892; as a type of good brandy, from 1930. The name also was applied by 1821 to anyone thought to have achieved domination in any field by ambition and ruthlessness. Napoleon complex in reference to aggressiveness by short people is attested by 1930. Related: Napoleonic.
napping (n.) Look up napping at
"action of sleeping," Old English hneappunge, verbal noun from nap (v.).
nappy (adj.) Look up nappy at
"downy," late 15c., from nap (n.1) + -y (2). Meaning "fuzzy, kinky," used in colloquial or derogatory reference to the hair of black people, is from 1950.
narc (n.) Look up narc at
1967 (earlier narco, 1960), American English slang, shortened form of narcotics agent. Had been used 1955 for narcotics hospital, 1958 for narcotics addict. Sense and spelling tending to merge with older but unrelated nark (q.v.).
narcissism (n.) Look up narcissism at
1905, from German Narzissismus, coined 1899 (in "Die sexuellen Perversitäten"), by German psychiatrist Paul Näcke (1851-1913), on a comparison suggested 1898 by Havelock Ellis, from Greek Narkissos, name of a beautiful youth in mythology (Ovid, "Metamorphoses," iii.370) who fell in love with his own reflection in a spring and was turned to the flower narcissus (q.v.). Coleridge used the word in a letter from 1822.
But already Krishna, enamoured of himself, had resolved to experience lust for his own self; he manifested his own Nature in the cow-herd girls and enjoyed them. [Karapatri, "Lingopasana-rahasya," Siddhanta, II, 1941-2]
Sometimes erroneously as narcism.
narcissist (n.) Look up narcissist at
1930, from narcissism + -ist.
narcissistic (adj.) Look up narcissistic at
1912, see narcissism + -istic. Sometimes erroneously as narcistic. Related: Narcissistically.
narcissus (n.) Look up narcissus at
type of bulbous flowering plant, 1540s, from Latin narcissus, from Greek narkissos, a plant name, not the modern narcissus, possibly a type of iris or lily, perhaps from a pre-Greek Aegean word, but associated with Greek narke "numbness" (see narcotic) because of the sedative effect of the alkaloids in the plant.
narco- Look up narco- at
word-forming element meaning "stupor, narcosis, sleep," from Latinized form of Greek narko-, comb. form of narke "numbness" (see narcotic (n.)).
narcolepsy (n.) Look up narcolepsy at
1880, from French narcolepsie, coined 1880 by French physician Jean-Baptiste-Édouard Gélineau (1859-1928) from Latinized form of Greek narke "numbness, stupor" (see narcotic) + lepsis "an attack, seizure," from leps-, future stem of lambanein "take, take hold of, grasp" (see lemma). Related: Narcoleptic; narcolept.
narcomania (n.) Look up narcomania at
1887, from narco- + mania.
narcosis (n.) Look up narcosis at
1690s, "state of unconsciousness caused by a narcotic," Modern Latin, from Greek narkosis, from narkoun "to benumb" (see narcotic (n.)).
narcotic (n.) Look up narcotic at
late 14c., from Old French narcotique (early 14c.), noun use of adjective, and directly from Medieval Latin narcoticum, from Greek narkotikon, neuter of narkotikos "making stiff or numb," from narkotos, verbal adjective of narcoun "to benumb, make unconscious," from narke "numbness, deadness, stupor, cramp" (also "the electric ray"), perhaps from PIE root *(s)nerq- "to turn, twist." Sense of "any illegal drug" first recorded 1926, American English. Related: Narcotics.
narcotic (adj.) Look up narcotic at
c. 1600, from Middle French narcotique (14c.) or German narkotisch and directly from Medieval Latin narcoticus, from Greek narkotikos (see narcotic (n.)). Related: Narcotical (1580s).
nard (n.) Look up nard at
late 14c., from Old French narde (Modern French nard), from Latin nardus, from Greek nardos, of Eastern origin (compare Hebrew ner'd, plural n'radim; Arabic and Persian nardin, Sanskrit narada, nalada, name of an aromatic balsam).
nare (n.) Look up nare at
"nostril," late 14c., singular of nares.
nares (n.) Look up nares at
"nostrils," 1690s, from Latin nares, plural of naris "nostril," from PIE root *nas- "nose."
narghile (n.) Look up narghile at
"oriental water pipe for smoking," 1839, from French narghileh, from Persian nargileh, from nargil "cocoa-nut," of which the bowl was originally made. The Persian word is probably from Sanskrit narikerah, which may be from a Dravidian source.
nark Look up nark at
1859, "to act as a police informer" (v.); 1860, "police informer" (n.), probably from Romany nak "nose," from Hindi nak, from Sanskrit nakra, which probably is related to Sanskrit nasa "nose" (from PIE root *nas- "nose"). Sense and spelling tending to merge with etymologically unrelated narc (q.v.).
Narragansett Look up Narragansett at
1622, from southern New England Algonquian Naiaganset "(people) of the small point of land," containing nai- "a point or angle." Originally in reference to the native people, later to the place in Rhode Island.
narrate (v.) Look up narrate at
1748, back-formation from narration or else from Latin narratus, past participle of narrare "to tell, relate, recount," from PIE root *gno- "to know." "Richardson and Johnson call it Scottish" [OED], a stigma which kept it from general use until 19c. A few mid-17c. instances are traceable to Spanish narrar. Related: Narrated; narrating.
narration (n.) Look up narration at
early 15c., from Old French narracion "account, statement, a relating, recounting, narrating, narrative tale," and directly from Latin narrationem (nominative narratio) "a relating, narrative," noun of action from past participle stem of narrare "to tell, relate, recount, explain," literally "to make acquainted with," from gnarus "knowing," from PIE *gne-ro-, suffixed form of root *gno- "to know."
narrative (adj.) Look up narrative at
mid-15c., from Middle French narratif, from Late Latin narrativus "suited to narration," from Latin narrat-, stem of narrare (see narration).
narrative (n.) Look up narrative at
"a tale, story," 1560s, from Middle French narrative and from narrative (adj.).
narrator (n.) Look up narrator at
1610s, from Latin narrator "a relater, narrator, historian," agent noun from narrat-, stem of narrare "to tell, relate" (see narration). In sense of "a commentator in a radio program" it is from 1941.
narrow (adj.) Look up narrow at
Old English nearu "narrow, constricted, limited; petty; causing difficulty, oppressive; strict, severe," from West Germanic *narwaz "narrowness" (source also of Frisian nar, Old Saxon naru, Middle Dutch nare, Dutch naar); not found in other Germanic languages and of unknown origin. The narrow seas (c. 1400) were the waters between Great Britain and the continent and Ireland. Related: Narrowness.
narrow (v.) Look up narrow at
Old English nearwian "to force in, cramp, confine; become smaller, shrink;" see narrow (adj.). Related: Narrowed; narrowing.
narrow (n.) Look up narrow at
c. 1200, nearewe "narrow part, place, or thing," from narrow (adj.). Old English nearu (n.) meant "danger, distress, difficulty," also "prison, hiding place."
narrow-minded (adj.) Look up narrow-minded at
also narrow minded, 1620s, from narrow (adj.) + -minded. Related: Narrow-mindedness. Middle English had narrow-hearted "mean, ungenerous, ignoble" (c. 1200).