near (adv.)
Old English near "closer, nearer," comparative of neah, neh"nigh." Influenced by Old Norse naer "near," it came to be used as a positive form mid-13c., and new comparative nearer developed 1500s (see nigh). As an adjective from c.1300. Originally an adverb but now supplanted in most such senses by nearly; it has in turn supplanted correct nigh as an adjective. Related: Nearness. In near and dear (1620s) it refers to nearness of kinship. Near East first attested 1891, in Kipling. Near beer "low-alcoholic brew" is from 1908.
near (v.)
"to draw near," 1510s, from near (adv.). Related: Neared; nearing.
near-sighted (adj.)
also nearsighted, 1680s, from near + sight. Figurative use from 1856. Related: Nearsightedly; nearsightedness.
nearby
"close at hand," late 14c. (one-word form from 15c.), from near + by.
nearly (adv.)
1530s, "carefully;" sense of "almost, all but" is from 1680s; see near + -ly (2).
neat (adj.)
1540s, "clean, free from dirt," from Anglo-French neit, Middle French net "clear, pure" (12c.), from Latin nitidus "well-favored, elegant, trim," literally "gleaming," from nitere "to shine," from PIE root *nei- "to shine" (cognates: Middle Irish niam "gleam, splendor," niamda "shining;" Old Irish noib "holy," niab "strength;" Welsh nwyfiant "gleam, splendor").

Meaning "inclined to be tidy" is from 1570s. Of liquor, "straight," c.1800, from meaning "unadulterated" (of wine), which is first attested 1570s. Informal sense of "very good" first recorded 1934 in American English; variant neato is teenager slang, first recorded 1968. Related: Neatly; neatness.
neat (n.)
"ox, bullock, cow," Old English neat "ox, beast, animal," from Proto-Germanic *nautam "thing of value, possession" (cognates: Old Frisian nat, Middle Dutch noot, Old High German noz, Old Norse naut), from PIE root *neud- "to make use of, enjoy."
neaten (v.)
1898, from neat (adj.) + -en (1). Related: Neatened; neatening.
neath
1787, poetic shortening of beneath (q.v.).
neatnik (n.)
"excessively tidy person," 1959, from neat (adj.) with a punning play on beatnik.
neato (adj.)
by 1968, American English teenager slang variant of neat (adj.) in its slang sense.
neb (n.)
"beak or bill of a bird," Old English nebb "beak, nose; face, countenance; beak-shaped thing," common Germanic (cognates: Old Norse nef "beak, nose," Middle Dutch nebbe "beak," Old High German snabul, German Schnabel "beak," Old Frisian snavel "mouth"), of uncertain origin.
nebbish (n.)
1905, nebbich, from Yiddish (used as a Yiddish word in American English from 1890s), from a Slavic source akin to Czech neboh "poor, unfortunate," literally "un-endowed," from Proto-Slavic *ne-bogu-, with negative prefix (see un- (1)) + PIE *bhag- "to share out, apportion" (see -phagous).
Nebraska
U.S. territory organized 1854, admitted as a state 1867, from a native Siouan name for the Platte River, either Omaha ni braska or Oto ni brathge, both literally "water flat." The modern river name is from French rivière platte, which means "flat river." Related: Nebraskan.
Bug eaters, a term applied derisively to the inhabitants of Nebraska by travellers on account of the poverty-stricken appearance of many parts of the State. If one living there were to refuse to eat bugs, he would, like Polonius, soon be "not where he eats but where he is eaten." [Walsh, 1892]
Nebuchadnezzar
king of Babylon (604-562 B.C.E.), from Hebrew Nebhukhadhnetztzar, from Babylonian Nabu-kudurri-usur, probably literally "Nebo, protect the boundary."
nebula (n.)
early 15c., nebule "a cloud, mist," from Latin nebula "mist, vapor, fog, smoke, exhalation," figuratively "darkness, obscurity," from PIE *nebh- "cloud" (cognates: Sanskrit nabhas- "vapor, cloud, mists, fog, sky;" Greek nephele, nephos "cloud;" German nebel "fog;" Old English nifol "dark, gloomy;" Welsh niwl "cloud, fog;" Slavic nebo).

Re-borrowed from Latin 1660s in sense of "cataracts in the eye;" astronomical meaning "cloud-like patch in the night sky" first recorded c.1730. As early as Hershel (1802) astronomers realized that some nebulae were star clusters, but certain distinction of relatively nearby cosmic gas clouds from distant galaxies was not made until 1920s, using the new 100-inch Mt. Wilson telescope.
nebular (adj.)
1821, "pertaining to an (astronomical) nebula or nebulae," from nebula + -ar.
nebulizer (n.)
1865, agent noun from verb nebulize "to reduce to a mist or spray" (1865), from Latin nebula "mist" (see nebula) + -ize. Related: Nebulization.
nebulosity (n.)
1738, from French nébulosité, from Late Latin nebulositatem (nominative nebulositas), from Latin nebulosus, from nebula (see nebula).
nebulous (adj.)
late 14c., "cloudy, misty," from Latin nebulosus "cloudy, misty, foggy, full of vapor," from nebula (see nebula). The figurative sense of "hazy, vague, formless" is first attested 1831. Astronomical sense is from 1670s. Related: Nebulously; nebulousness.
necessarily (adv.)
mid-15c., "inevitably, unavoidably," from necessary (adj.) + -ly (2).
necessary (adj.)
late 14c. "needed, required, essential, indispensable," from Old French necessaire "necessary, urgent, compelling" (13c.), and directly from Latin necessarius "unavoidable, indispensable, necessary," from necesse "unavoidable, indispensable," originally "no backing away," from ne- "not" + cedere "to withdraw, go away, yield" (see cede). The root sense is of that from which there is no evasion, that which is inevitable. Necessary house "privy" is from c.1600. Necessary evil is from 1540s (the original reference was to "woman").
necessary (n.)
mid-14c., "needed, required, or useful things; the necessities of life; actions determined by right or law," perhaps from Old French necessaire (n.) "private parts, genitalia; lavatory," and directly from Latin necessarius (n.), in classical Latin "a relation, relative, kinsman; friend, client, patron;" see necessary (adj.).
necessitarian (n.)
1754, from necessity + -arian. As an adjective from 1739. Related: Necessitarianism.
necessitate (v.)
1620s, from Medieval Latin necessitatus, past participle of necessitare "to render necessary," from Latin necessitas (see necessity). Earlier verb in English was necessen (late 14c.). Related: Necessitated; necessitates; necessitating.
necessitation (n.)
1650s, noun of action from necessitate.
necessity (n.)
late 14c., "constraining power of circumstances," from Old French necessité "need, necessity; privation, poverty; distress, torment; obligation, duty" (12c.), from Latin necessitatem (nominative necessitas) "compulsion, need for attention, unavoidableness, destiny," from necesse (see necessary). Meaning "condition of being in need" in English is from late 15c.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention. [Richard Franck, c.1624-1708, English author and angler, "Northern Memoirs," 1658]
To maken vertu of necessite is in Chaucer. Related: Necessities.
neck (n.)
Old English hnecca "neck, nape, back of the neck" (a fairly rare word) from Proto-Germanic *hnekk- "the nape of the neck" (cognates: Old Frisian hnekka, Middle Dutch necke, Dutch nek, Old Norse hnakkr, Old High German hnach, German Nacken "neck"), with no certain cognates outside Germanic, though Klein's sources suggest PIE *knok- "high point, ridge" (source of Old Irish cnocc, Welsh cnwch, Old Breton cnoch "hill").

The more usual Old English words were hals (the general Germanic word, cognate with Gothic, Old Norse, Danish, Swedish, Dutch, German hals), cognate with Latin collum (see collar (n.)); and sweora, swira "neck, nape," probably also from a PIE root meaning "column" (cognate with Old English swer "column," Sanskrit svaru- "post").

Transferred senses attested from c.1400. Phrase neck of the woods (American English) is attested from 1780 in the sense of "narrow stretch of woods;" 1839 with meaning "settlement in a wooded region." To stick one's neck out "take a risk" is first recorded 1919, American English. Horses running neck and neck is attested from 1799.
neck (v.)
"to kiss, embrace, caress," 1825 (implied in necking) in northern England dialect, from neck (n.). Compare Middle English halsen "to embrace or caress affectionately, to fondle sexually," from hals (n.) "neck." Earlier, neck as a verb meant "to kill by a strike on the neck" (mid-15c.). Related: Necked.
neckerchief (n.)
"scarf for the neck," late 14c., from neck (n.) + kerchief, which is, etymologically "a covering for the head."
necking (n.)
1825; see neck (v.).
necklace (n.)
1590s, from neck (n.) + lace (n.) in the sense of "cord, string." As the name of a South African form of lynching, from 1985.
neckless (adj.)
c.1600, from neck (n.) + -less.
neckline (n.)
also neck-line, of a garment, 1900, from neck (n.) + line (n.).
necktie (n.)
1838, from neck (n.) + tie (n.). American English slang necktie party "a lynching" is recorded from 1871.
necro-
before vowels, necr-, word-forming element meaning "death, corpse, dead tissue," from comb. form of Greek nekros "dead body, corpse, dead person," from PIE *nek- (1) "death, natural death" (cognates: Sanskrit nasyati "disappears, perishes," Avestan nasyeiti "disappears," nasu- "corpse," Old Persian vi-nathayatiy "he injures;" Latin nex, genitive necis "violent death, murder" (as opposed to mors), nocere "to harm, hurt," noxius "harmful;" Greek nekus "dead" (adj.), nekros "dead body, corpse;" Old Irish ec, Breton ankou, Welsh angeu "death").
necrology (n.)
"register of deaths, obituary," 1705, from necro- + -logy.
necromancer (n.)
c.1300, from Old French nigromansere, from nigromancie (see necromancy).
necromancy (n.)
c.1300, nygromauncy, "divination by communication with the dead," from Old French nigromancie "magic, necromancy, witchcraft, sorcery," from Medieval Latin nigromantia (13c.), from Latin necromantia "divination from an exhumed corpse," from Greek nekromanteia, from nekros "dead body" (see necro-) + manteia "divination, oracle," from manteuesthai "to prophesy," from mantis "prophet" (see mania). Spelling influenced in Medieval Latin by niger "black," on notion of "black arts." Modern spelling is a mid-16c. correction. Related: Necromantic.
necrophilia (n.)
1892, in Chaddock's translation of Krafft-Ebbing's "Psychopathia Sexualis," from necro- + -philia.
necrophobia (n.)
"abnormal fear of death or corpses," 1833, from necro- + -phobia "fear." Related: Necrophobic.
necropolis (n.)
"large cemetery" of an ancient or modern city, 1803, from Late Latin, literally "city of the dead," from Greek Nekropolis, a burial place near Alexandria, from nekros (see necro-) + polis "city" (see polis).
necropsy (n.)
"post-mortem examination," 1839, from necro- + opsis "a sight" (see eye (n.)). As a verb, recorded from 1889.
necrosis (n.)
"death of bodily tissue," 1660s, from Greek nekrosis "a becoming dead, state of death," from nekroun "make dead," from nekros "dead body" (see necro-). Related: Necrotic.
nectar (n.)
1550s, from Latin nectar, from Greek nektar, name of the drink of the gods, which is said to be a compound of nek- "death" (see necro-) + -tar "overcoming," from PIE *tere- (2) "to cross over, pass through, overcome" (see through). Meaning "sweet liquid in flowers" first recorded c.1600.
nectarine (n.)
type of peach with smooth skin, 1660s, noun use of adjective meaning "of or like nectar" (1610s; see nectar + -ine (1)). Probably inspired by German nektarpfirsich "nectar-peach." Earlier in English as nectrine.
Ned
masc. proper name, a familiar abbreviation of Edward. Related: Neddy.
nee
introducing the maiden name of a married woman, 1758, from French née, fem. past participle of naître "born," from Latin natus, past participle of nasci "to be born" (Old Latin gnasci; see genus).
need (n.)
Old English nied (West Saxon), ned (Mercian) "necessity, compulsion, duty; hardship, distress; errand, business," originally "violence, force," from Proto-Germanic *nauthis (cognates: Old Saxon nod, Old Norse nauðr, Old Frisian ned, Middle Dutch, Dutch nood, Old High German not, German Not, Gothic nauþs "need"), probably cognate with Old Prussian nautin "need," and perhaps with Old Church Slavonic nazda, Russian nuzda, Polish nędza "misery, distress," from PIE *nau- (1) "death, to be exhausted" (see narwhal).

The more common Old English word for "need, necessity, want" was ðearf, but they were connected via a notion of "trouble, pain," and the two formed a compound, niedðearf "need, necessity, compulsion, thing needed." Nied also might have been influenced by Old English neod "desire, longing," which often was spelled the same. Common in Old English compounds, such as niedfaru "compulsory journey," a euphemism for "death;" niedhæmed "rape," the second element being an Old English word meaning "sexual intercourse;" niedling "slave." Meaning "extreme poverty, destitution" is from c.1200.
need (v.)
Old English neodian "be necessary, be required (for some purpose); require, have need of," from the same root as need (n.). Meaning "to be under obligation (to do something)" is from late 14c. Related: Needed; needing. The adjectival phrase need-to-know is attested from 1952. Dismissive phrase who needs it?, popular from c.1960, is a translated Yiddishism.