- noon (n.)
- mid-12c., non "midday, 12 o'clock p.m., midday meal," from Old English non "3 o'clock p.m., the ninth hour," also "the canonical hour of nones," from Latin nona hora "ninth hour" of daylight, by Roman reckoning about 3 p.m., from nona, fem. singular of nonus "ninth" (see nones). Sense shift from "3 p.m." to "12 p.m." began during 12c., when time of Church prayers shifted from ninth hour to sixth hour, or perhaps because the customary time of the midday meal shifted, or both. The shift was complete by 14c. (same evolution in Dutch noen).
- noonday (n.)
- "middle of the day," first used by Coverdale (1535), from noon + day.
- noose (n.)
- mid-15c., perhaps from Old French nos or cognate Old Provençal nous "knot," from Latin nodus "knot" (see net (n.)). Rare before c. 1600.
- nopal (n.)
- Mexican cactus, from American Spanish, from Nahuatl (Aztecan) nopalli.
- nope (adv.)
- 1888, emphatic form of no, with emphasis on the closing of the lips.
- nor (conj.)
- c. 1300, contraction of Middle English nauther (see neither). Influenced in form by or.
- fem. proper name, Irish, shortened from Honora or Leonora.
- Nordic (adj.)
- 1898, from French nordique (in J. Deniker's system of race classifications), literally "of or pertaining to the north," from nord "north" (a loan-word from Old English; see north). Perhaps influenced by German Nordisch. As a noun, from 1901. Strictly, the blond peoples who inhabit Scandinavia and the north of Britain. As a type of skiing competition, it is attested from 1954.
- norepinephrine (n.)
- 1868, from normal (in reference to molecular structure) + epinephrine.
- Nordfolc (1066) "(Territory of the) Northern People (of the East Angles)." The Norfolk pine (1778), used as an ornamental tree, is from Norfolk Island in the South Pacific, northwest of New Zealand.
- norm (n.)
- "standard, pattern, model," 1821, from French norme, from Latin norma "carpenter's square, rule, pattern," which is of unknown origin. Klein suggests a borrowing (via Etruscan) of Greek gnomon "carpenter's square." The Latin form of the word, norma, was used in English in the sense of "carpenter's square" from 1670s.
- fem. proper name, probably from Latin norma (see norm).
- normal (adj.)
- c. 1500, "typical, common;" 1640s, "standing at a right angle," from Late Latin normalis "in conformity with rule, normal," from Latin normalis "made according to a carpenter's square," from norma "rule, pattern," literally "carpenter's square," which is of unknown origin (see norm). Meaning "conforming to common standards, usual" is from 1828, but probably older than the record [Barnhart].
As a noun meaning "usual state or condition," from 1890. Sense of "normal person or thing" is from 1894. Normal school (1834) is from French école normale (1794), a republican foundation. The city of Normal, Illinois, U.S., was named 1857 for the normal school established there.
- normalcy (n.)
- 1857, "mathematical condition of being at right angles," from normal + -cy. Associated since c. 1920 with U.S. president Warren G. Harding and derided as an example of his incompetent speaking style. Previously used mostly in the mathematical sense. The word preferred by purists for "a normal situation" is normality (1849).
- normality (n.)
- 1849, from normal + -ity. Perhaps influenced by French normalité (1834).
- normalization (n.)
- 1882, from normalize + -ation. International political sense recorded from 1938.
- normalize (v.)
- 1865, from normal + -ize. Related: Normalized; normalizing.
- normally (adv.)
- 1590s, "regularly," from normal + -ly (2). Meaning "under ordinary conditions" is from 1853.
- Norman (n.)
- c. 1200, "one of the mixed Scandinavian-Frankish people who conquered England in 1066," from Old French Normanz, plural of Normand, Normant, literally "North man," from a Scandinavian word meaning "northman" (see Norse), in reference to the Scandinavian people who overran and occupied Normandy 10c. Later meaning "one of the Norman French who conquered England in 1066." As an adjective from 1580s. As a style of architecture, developed in Normandy and employed in England after the conquest, it is attested from 1797. Norseman (1817) is not historical and appears to be due to Scott.
- literally "region settled by Vikings;" from Normand (see Norman).
- normative (adj.)
- 1880, perhaps from French normatif, from Latin norma "rule" (see normal).
- Norn (n.)
- 1770, from Old Norse norn (plural nornir), one of the female fates of Scandinavian mythology, related to Swedish dialectal norna "to warn, to communicate secretly," perhaps ultimately imitative of low murmuring (compare Middle High German narren "to growl, snarl").
- Norse (n.)
- 1590s, "a Norwegian," from obsolete Dutch Noorsch (adj.) "Norwegian," from noordsch "northern, nordic," from noord "north" (see north). Also in some cases borrowed from cognate Danish or Norwegian norsk. As a language, from 1680s. Old Norse attested from 1844. An Old English word for "a Norwegian" was Norðman. As an adjective from 1768.
In Old French, Norois as a noun meant "a Norse, Norseman," also "action worth of a man from the North (i.e. usually considered as deceitful)" [Hindley, et. al.]; as an adjective it meant "northern, Norse, Norwegian," also "proud, fierce, fiery, strong."
- Old English norð "northern" (adj.), "northwards" (adv.), from Proto-Germanic *nurtha- (source also of Old Norse norðr, Old Saxon north, Old Frisian north, Middle Dutch nort, Dutch noord, German nord), possibly ultimately from PIE *ner- (1) "left," also "below," as north is to the left when one faces the rising sun (source also of Sanskrit narakah "hell," Greek enerthen "from beneath," Oscan-Umbrian nertrak "left"). The same notion underlies Old Irish tuath "left; northern;" Arabic shamal "left hand; north." The usual word for "north" in the Romance languages ultimately is from English, for example Old French north (Modern French nord), borrowed from Old English norð; Italian, Spanish norte are borrowed from French.
Ask where's the North? At York 'tis on the Tweed;
As a noun, c. 1200, from the adverb. North Pole attested from mid-15c. (earlier the Arctic pole, late 14c.). North American (n.) first used 1766, by Franklin; as an adjective, from 1770.
In Scotland at the Orcades; and there
At Greenland, Zembla, or the Lord knows where.
[Pope, "Essay on Man"]
- North Sea
- Old English norðsæ, usually meaning "the Bristol Channel." The application to the body of water presently so named (late 13c.) is from Dutch (Noordzee, Middle Dutch Noortzee); it lies to the north of Holland, where it was contrasted with the inland Zuider Zee, literally "Southern Sea"). To the Danes, it sometimes was Vesterhavet "West Sea." In English, this had been typically called the "German Sea" or "German Ocean," which follows the Roman name for it, Oceanus Germanicus. "German" persisted on some British maps at least into the 1830s.
- North Star (n.)
- "Pole Star, Polaris," Middle English norþe sterre (late 14c.); cognate with Middle Dutch noirdstern, German Nordstern.
- north-bound (adj.)
- 1903, from north + bound (adj.2).
- north-easter (n.)
- sometimes nor'easter, "wind blowing from the northeast," 1794, from northeast.
- Old English norð east; see north + east. Related: Northeasterly (1743).
- northerly (adj., adv.)
- 1550s, from northern + -ly (2) on pattern of easterly, westerly.
- northern (adj.)
- Old English norþerna, norðerne "northern, Northumbrian, Scandinavian," cognate with Old High German nordroni, Old Norse norroenn (see north). With -erne, suffix denoting direction. Related: Northernmost. Northerner in U.S. geo-political sense is attested from 1831. Northern lights "aurora borealis" first recorded by that name 1721 (earlier north-light, 1706).
- Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Norðhymbre, which lay north of the river Humber (Latin Humbri fluminis, c.720), an ancient pre-English river name of unknown origin. Related: Northumbrian. The Northumbrians seem at times to have referred to the Mercians as Southumbrians.
- northward (adv.)
- Old English norðweard; see north + -ward. Related: Northwards.
- Old English norðwest (adv.);
from north + west. As a noun from late 14c. Related: Northwestern; northwesterly; northwestward. Northwest Passage first attested c. 1600.
- Old English Norweg, Norþweg from Old Norse Norvegr "north way, a way leading to the north" (see north + way (n.)); contrasted with suthrvegar "south way," i.e. Germany, and austrvegr "east way," the Baltic lands.
- c. 1600 (n. and adj.), sometimes in early use Norvegian, from Medieval Latin Norvegia "Norway," from Old Norse Norvegr (see Norway) + -ian.
- nose (n.)
- Old English nosu, from Proto-Germanic *nusus (source also of Old Norse nös, Old Frisian nose, Dutch neus, Old High German nasa, German Nase), from PIE *nas- "nose" (source also of Sanskrit nasa, Old Persian naham, Old Church Slavonic nasu, Lithuanian nosis, Latin nasus "nose"). Used of any prominent or projecting part from 1530s. (nose cone in the space rocket sense is from 1949). Used to indicate "something obvious" from 1590s. Meaning "odor, scent" is from 1894.
Kiv, It could bee no other then his owne manne, that had thrust his nose so farre out of ioynte. ["Barnabe Riche His Farewell to Military Profession," 1581]
Pay through the nose (1670s) seems to suggest "bleed." Many extended meanings are from the horse-racing sense of "length of a horse's nose," as a measure of distance between two finishers (1908). To turn up one's nose "show disdain" is from 1818 (earlier hold up one's nose, 1570s); similar notion in look down one's nose (1921). To say something is under (one's) nose "in plain view" is from 1540s.
- nose (v.)
- "perceive the smell of," 1570s; "pry, search," 1640s, from nose (n.). Related: Nosed; nosing.
- nose job (n.)
- "rhinoplasty," 1963, from nose (n.) + job (n.).
- nose-bleed (n.)
- 1848, from nose (n.) + bleed (n.).
- nose-dive (n.)
- "sudden large decrease," 1920, from airplane sense, first attested 1912, from nose (n.) + dive (n.). As a verb from 1915.
- nose-ring (n.)
- 1778 as something to lead an animal by, from nose (n.) + ring (n.1). As something to ornament a person, from 1819.
- nosegay (n.)
- "bunch of flowers," early 15c., from nose (n.) + gay in an obsolete noun sense of "gay or bright thing."
- nosey (adj.)
- see nosy.
- nosh (v.)
- 1957, from Yiddish nashn "nibble," from Middle High German naschen, from Old High German hnascon, nascon "to nibble," from Proto-Germanic *(g)naskon. Related: Noshed; noshing. Earlier as a noun (1917) meaning "a restaurant," short for nosh-house.
- word-forming element meaning "disease," from Greek nosos "disease, sickness, malady," of unknown origin.
- nosocomial (adj.)
- 1855, from Latin nosocomium, from Greek nosokomeion, from nosos "disease." Nosocome was a 17c. word for "hospital."
- nosology (n.)
- "study of diseases," 1721, from Modern Latin nosologia (perhaps via French nosologie), from noso- + -logy. Related: Nosological; nosologist.
- nostalgia (n.)
- 1770, "severe homesickness considered as a disease," Modern Latin, coined 1668 in a dissertation on the topic at the University of Basel by scholar Johannes Hofer (1669-1752) as a rendering of German heimweh "homesickness" (for which see home + woe). From Greek algos "pain, grief, distress" (see -algia) + nostos "homecoming," from neomai "to reach some place, escape, return, get home," from PIE *nes- "to return safely home" (cognate with Old Norse nest "food for a journey," Sanskrit nasate "approaches, joins," German genesen "to recover," Gothic ganisan "to heal," Old English genesen "to recover"). French nostalgie is in French army medical manuals by 1754.
Originally in reference to the Swiss and said to be peculiar to them and often fatal, whether by its own action or in combination with wounds or disease. By 1830s the word was used of any intense homesickness: that of sailors, convicts, African slaves. "The bagpipes produced the same effects sometimes in the Scotch regiments while serving abroad" [Penny Magazine," Nov. 14, 1840]. It is listed among the "endemic diseases" in the "Cyclopaedia of Practical Medicine" [London, 1833, edited by three M.D.s], which defines it as "The concourse of depressing symptoms which sometimes arise in persons who are absent from their native country, when they are seized with a longing desire of returning to their home and friends and the scenes their youth ...." It was a military medical diagnosis principally, and was considered a serious medical problem by the North in the American Civil War:
In the first two years of the war, there were reported 2588 cases of nostalgia, and 13 deaths from this cause. These numbers scarcely express the real extent to which nostalgia influenced the sickness and mortality of the army. To the depressing influence of home-sickness must be attributed the fatal result in many cases which might otherwise have terminated favorably. ["Sanitary Memoirs of the War," U.S. Sanitary Commission, N.Y.: 1867]
Transferred sense (the main modern one) of "wistful yearning for the past" first recorded 1920, perhaps from such use of nostalgie in French literature. The longing for a distant place also necessarily involves a separation in time.
- nostalgic (adj.)
- 1806, from nostalgia + -ic. Related: Nostalgically.