nova (n.) Look up nova at
1877, from Latin nova, fem. singular adjective of novus "new" (see new), used with stella "star" (a feminine noun in Latin) to describe a new star not previously known. Classical plural is novae.
novate (v.) Look up novate at
"to replace by something new," 1610s, from past participle stem of Latin novare "to make new," from novus "new" (see new).
novation (n.) Look up novation at
"replacement of an old obligation by a new one," 1530s, from Latin novationem (nominative novatio) "a making new, renewal," noun of action from past participle stem of novare "make new," from novus "new" (see new).
novel (adj.) Look up novel at
"new, strange, unusual," early 15c., but little used before 1600, from Old French novel, nouvel "new, young, fresh, recent; additional; early, soon" (Modern French nouveau, fem. nouvelle), from Latin novellus "new, young, recent," diminutive of novus "new" (see new).
novel (n.) Look up novel at
"fictitious narrative," 1560s, from Italian novella "short story," originally "new story," from Latin novella "new things" (source of Middle French novelle, French nouvelle), neuter plural or fem. of novellus (see novel (adj.)). Originally "one of the tales or short stories in a collection" (especially Boccaccio's), later (1630s) "long work of fiction," works which had before that been called romances.
A novel is like a violin bow; the box which gives off the sounds is the soul of the reader. [Stendhal, "Life of Henri Brulard"]
novelist (n.) Look up novelist at
"writer of novels," 1728, hybrid from novel (n.) + -ist. Influenced by Italian novellista. Earlier in English, it meant "an innovator" (1580s).
novelize (v.) Look up novelize at
1640s, "to make new," from novel (adj.) + -ize. From 1828 as "to make into a novel" (from novel (n.)). Related: Novelized; novelizing.
novella Look up novella at
1902; see novel (n.).
novelty (n.) Look up novelty at
late 14c., "quality of being new," also "a new manner or fashion, an innovation; something new or unusual," from Old French noveleté "newness, innovation, change; news, new fashion" (Modern French nouveauté), from novel "new" (see novel (adj.)). Meaning "newness" is attested from late 14c.; sense of "useless but amusing object" is attested from 1901 (as in novelty shop, 1973).
November Look up November at
c. 1200, from Old French novembre and directly from Latin November (also Novembris (mensis)), from novem "nine" (see nine). The ninth month of the Roman calendar, which began in March. For -ber see December. In Old English, it was Blotmonað "month of sacrifice," literally "blood-month," the time when the early Saxons prepared for winter by sacrificing animals, which they then butchered and stored for food.
novena (n.) Look up novena at
1745, from Medieval Latin novena, fem. of Latin novenus "ninefold," from novem "nine" (see nine). Devotions consisting of special prayers or services on nine successive days.
novice (n.) Look up novice at
mid-14c., "probationer in a religious order," from Old French novice "beginner" (12c.), from Medieval Latin novicius, noun use of Latin novicius "newly imported, newly arrived, inexperienced" (of slaves), from novus "new" (see new). Meaning "inexperienced person" is attested from early 15c.
novitiate (n.) Look up novitiate at
also noviciate, "state of being a novice," c. 1600, from Middle French noviciat or directly from Medieval Latin novitiatus, from Late Latin novitius "novice," from Latin adjective novicius (see novice).
novocain (n.) Look up novocain at
also novocaine, 1905, originally a trademark name for procaine (by Lucius & Brüning, Hoechst am Main, Germany), from comb. form of Latin novus "new" (see new) + -caine, abstracted from cocaine. As a local anaesthetic, it began as a substitute for cocaine.
Novus Ordo Seclorum Look up Novus Ordo Seclorum at
on the Great Seal of the United States of America, apparently an allusion to line 5 of Virgil's "Eclogue IV," in an 18c. edition: Magnus ab integro seclorum nascitur ordo "The great series of ages begins anew." The seal's designer, Charles Thomson, wrote that the words "signify the beginnings of the New American Era." (see Annuit Coeptis).
now (adv.) Look up now at
Old English nu "now, at present, immediately; now that," also used as an interjection and as an introductory word; common Germanic (Old Norse nu, Dutch nu, Old Frisian nu, German nun, Gothic nu "now"), from PIE *nu "now" (source also of Sanskrit and Avestan nu, Old Persian nuram, Hittite nuwa, Greek nu, nun, Latin nunc, Old Church Slavonic nyne, Lithuanian nu, Old Irish nu-). Perhaps originally "newly, recently," and related to the root of new.

Often merely emphatic; non-temporal usage (as in Now, then) was in Old English. The adjective meaning "up to date" first recorded 1967, but the word was used also as an adjective in Middle English with the sense "current" from late 14c. Now and then "occasionally" is from 1530s; now or never attested from 1550s.
nowadays (adv.) Look up nowadays at
late 14c., contracted from Middle English nou adayes (mid-14c.), from now + adayes "during the day" (see adays).
nowhere (adv.) Look up nowhere at
Old English nahwær "nowhere, not at all;" see no + where. Similar constructions were attempted with nowhat (1520s) and nowhen (1764), but they failed to take hold and remain nonce words.
nowhither (adv.) Look up nowhither at
"toward no place," Old English nahwiðer; see no + whither.
noxious (adj.) Look up noxious at
c. 1500, from Latin noxius "hurtful, injurious," from noxa "injury, hurt, damage entailing liability" (related to nocere "to hurt," and to nex "slaughter"), from PIE *noks-, from root *nek- (1) "death."
nozzle (n.) Look up nozzle at
mid-15c., noselle "socket on a candlestick," diminutive of nose (n.). Meaning "small spout" first recorded 1680s.
nth Look up nth at
1852, in phrase to the nth, figurative use of a mathematical term indicating indefinite number, in which n is an abbreviation for number (n.).
nuance (n.) Look up nuance at
1781, from French nuance "slight difference, shade of color" (17c.), from nuer "to shade," from nue "cloud," from Gallo-Roman *nuba, from Latin nubes "a cloud, mist, vapor," from PIE *sneudh- "fog" (source also of Avestan snaoda "clouds," Latin obnubere "to veil," Welsh nudd "fog," Greek nython, in Hesychius "dark, dusky"). According to Klein, a reference to "the different colors of the clouds."
nuance (v.) Look up nuance at
1886, from nuance (n.). Related: Nuanced.
nuanced (adj.) Look up nuanced at
1896, past participle adjective from verb nuance (q.v.).
The new co-operative history of English literature which the University of Cambridge is now publishing prints "genre" without italics. And it even permits one contributor--and a contributor who is discussing Shakespeare!--to say that something is delicately "nuanced." Is there now an English verb "to nuance"? It is terrible to think of the bad language the scholars of the venerable English university might have used if "nuanced" had been first discovered in the text of an American author. [Scribner's Magazine," January 1911]
nub (n.) Look up nub at
"knob, lump, bump," 1590s, variant of dialectal knub, probably a variant of knob. Figurative meaning "point, gist" first recorded 1834.
nubbin (n.) Look up nubbin at
"stunted ear of corn," 1690s, American English diminutive of nub. General sense of "small piece" is from 1857.
nubby (adj.) Look up nubby at
1876, from nub + -y (2).
Nubia Look up Nubia at
ultimately from a local word, said to be related to Coptic noubti "to weave," or from Nubian nub "gold." In the fashion sense "woman's light scarf" it is from French, from Latin nubes "cloud" (see nuance).
Nubian Look up Nubian at
c. 1400 (n.), c. 1730 (adj.), from Medieval Latin Nubianus, from Nubia (see Nubia).
nubile (adj.) Look up nubile at
1640s, "marriageable" (said of a woman), from French nubile (16c.) or directly from Latin nubilis "marriageable," from stem of nubere "take as husband" (see nuptial). In sense of "young and sexually attractive" from 1973. Related: Nubility.
nuchal (adj.) Look up nuchal at
"pertaining to the spinal cord," 1835, medical Latin, from nucha "spinal cord" (c. 1400), from Medieval Latin nucha, from Arabic nukha "spinal marrow."
nuclear (adj.) Look up nuclear at
1841, "of or like the nucleus of a cell," from nucleus + -ar, probably by influence of French nucléaire. Use in atomic physics is from 1914; of weapons, from 1945. Hence nuclear physics (1933), nuclear energy (1941), nuclear war (1954). Nuclear winter coined by Richard Turco, but first attested in article by Carl Sagan in "Parade" magazine, Oct. 30, 1983. General sense of "central" is from 1912. Nuclear family, originally a sociologists' term, is first attested 1949 in "Social Structure," by American anthropologist G.P. Murdock (1897-1985). Alternative adjective nucleal is recorded from 1840.
nucleation (n.) Look up nucleation at
1861, noun of action from nucleate (v.), from Latin nucleatus, past participle of nucleare, from nucleus (see nucleus).
nucleic (adj.) Look up nucleic at
1892, in nucleic acid, translation of German Nukleinsäure (1889), from Nuklein "substance obtained from a cell nucleus" (see nucleus + -in (2)) + -ic.
nucleolus (n.) Look up nucleolus at
1845, from Latin nucleolus, literally "a little nut," diminutive of nucleus (see nucleus).
nucleotide (n.) Look up nucleotide at
1908, from German nucleotid (1908), from nucleo-, modern comb. form of Latin nucleus (see nucleus) + -ide, with -t- for the sake of euphony.
nucleus (n.) Look up nucleus at
1704, "kernel of a nut," 1708, "head of a comet," from Latin nucleus "kernel," from nucula "little nut," diminutive of nux (genitive nucis) "nut," from PIE *kneu- "nut" (source also of Middle Irish cnu, Welsh cneuen, Middle Breton knoen "nut," Old Norse hnot, Old English hnutu "nut"). General sense of "central part or thing, about which others cluster" is from 1762. Use in reference to cells first recorded 1831. Modern atomic meaning is 1912, first by Ernest Rutherford, though theoretical use for "central point of an atom" is from 1844, in Faraday.
nuclide (n.) Look up nuclide at
1947, from nucleus + -ide.
nude (adj.) Look up nude at
1530s, a legal term, "unsupported, not formally attested," from Latin nudus "naked, bare, unclothed, stripped" (see naked). General sense of "mere, plain, simple" attested from 1550s. In reference to the human body, meaning "unclothed," it is an artistic euphemism for naked, dating from 1610s (implied in nudity) but not in common use in this sense until mid-19c.
nude (n.) Look up nude at
"nude figure in visual art," 1708, from French nud, obsolete variant of nu "naked, nude, bare," from Latin nudus (see nude (adj.)).
nudge (v.) Look up nudge at
"to push slightly with the elbow," 1670s, perhaps from Scandinavian (compare Norwegian nugge, nyggje "to jostle, rub;" Icelandic nugga "to rub, massage"). Related: Nudged; nudging.
nudge (n.1) Look up nudge at
"complainer, nagger," 1960s, from Yiddish, from Slavic words meaning "fret, ache," realted to the root of nudnik (q.v.).
nudge (n.2) Look up nudge at
"a slight push," 1836, from nudge (v.).
nudie (n.) Look up nudie at
"a nude show," 1935, from nude (adj.) -ie
nudism (n.) Look up nudism at
1929, from French nudisme (see nude + -ism). Nudist "one who practices nudism" appeared at the same time.
Made in Germany, imported to France, is the cult of Nudism, a mulligan stew of vegetarianism, physical culture and pagan worship. ["Time," July 1, 1929]
nudist Look up nudist at
1929, adjective and noun, from French nudiste or formed in English from nude (adj.) + -ist; also see nudism.
nudity (n.) Look up nudity at
1610s, from nude (adj.) + -ity; or else from French nudité "nakedness" (14c.) or directly from Late Latin nuditatem (nominative nuditas) "nakedness," from Latin nudus "naked, bare" (see naked).
nudnik (n.) Look up nudnik at
1947, from Yiddish, with agential suffix -nik + Polish nuda "boredom" or Russian nudnyi "tedious, boring," from Old Church Slavonic *nauda-, from PIE *neuti- "need" from root *nau- "death, to be exhausted" (see need (n.)).
nuff Look up nuff at
1840, American English, representing a casual or colloquial pronunciation of enough.