needful (adj.) Look up needful at
late 12c., niedfulle, "needy," from need (n.) + -ful. Meaning "characterized by need" is from mid-13c.; meaning "indispensable" is from mid-14c.; noun meaning "what is necessary" is from 1709. Colloquial sense of "cash" is recorded from 1774 in phrase the needful "money." Related: Needfully.
needle (n.) Look up needle at
Old English nædl, from Proto-Germanic *næthlo (cognates: Old Saxon nathla, Old Norse nal, Old Frisian nedle, Old High German nadala, German Nadel, Gothic neþla "needle"), literally "a tool for sewing," from PIE *net-la-, from root *(s)ne- "to sew, to spin" (cognates: Sanskrit snayati "wraps up," Greek nein "to spin," Latin nere "to spin," German nähen "to sew," Old Church Slavonic niti "thread," Old Irish snathat "needle," Welsh nyddu "to sew," nodwydd "needle") + instrumental suffix *-tla.
To seke out one lyne in all hys bookes wer to go looke a nedle in a meadow. [Thomas More, c. 1530]
Meaning "piece of magnetized steel in a compass" is from late 14c. (on a dial or indicator from 1928); the surgical instrument so called from 1727; phonographic sense from 1902; sense of "leaf of a fir or pine tree" first attested 1797. Needledom "the world of sewing" is from 1847. Needle's eye, figurative of a minute opening, often is a reference to Matt. xix:24.
needle (v.) Look up needle at
1715, "to sew or pierce with a needle," from needle (n.). Meaning "goad, provoke" (1881) probably is from earlier meaning "haggle in making a bargain" (1812). Related: Needled; needling.
needlepoint (n.) Look up needlepoint at
"point of a needle," c. 1700; "point lace made with the needle," 1865, from needle (n.) + point (n.).
needless (adj.) Look up needless at
c. 1300, "not needed, unnecessary," from need (n) + -less. Related: Needlessly. Phrase needless to say or speak is recorded from early 16c.
needlework (n.) Look up needlework at
"sewing, embroidery, etc.," late 14c., from needle (n.) + work (n.).
needs (adv.) Look up needs at
"of necessity, necessarily," in archaic constructions involving must (late 14c.) is from Old English nede, instrumental and genitive singular of nied (see need), used as an adverb reinforcing must, hence the genitive ending.
needways (adv.) Look up needways at
"by necessity," c. 1300, a northern and Scottish word, marked as obsolete in OED; from need (n.) + way (n.), with adverbial genitive.
needy (adj.) Look up needy at
late 12c., neodi "poor, indigent," from need (n.) + adjectival suffix -y (2). Similar formation in Dutch noodig, German nothig, Old Norse nauðigr. As a noun from mid-14c. Related: Needily; neediness.
neep (n.) Look up neep at
"a turnip," Scottish and dialectal, from Middle English nepe, from Old English næp "turnip," from Latin napus (see turnip).
neese (v.) Look up neese at
also neeze "sneeze," northern and Scottish, from Middle English nesen (mid-14c.), probably from Old Norse hnjosa, of imitative origin (compare Old High German niosan, German niesen, Middle Dutch niesen).
nefandous (adj.) Look up nefandous at
"not to be spoken of," 1630s, from Latin nefandous "unmentionable, impious, heinous," from ne-, negative particle, + fandus "to be spoken," gerundive of fari "to speak," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say" (see fame (n.)).
nefarious (adj.) Look up nefarious at
c. 1600, from Latin nefarius "wicked, abominable, impious," from nefas "crime, wrong, impiety," from ne- "not" (see un-) + fas "right, lawful, divinely spoken," related to fari "to speak," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say" (see fame (n.)). Related: Nefariously.
negate (v.) Look up negate at
1795 (with an isolated use from 1620s), back-formation from negation, or else from Latin negatus, past participle of negare. Related: Negated; negates; negating.
negation (n.) Look up negation at
early 15c., from Old French negacion (12c.) and directly from Latin negationem (nominative negatio) "denial," noun of action from past participle stem of negare "deny, say no" (see deny).
negative (adj.) Look up negative at
c. 1400, "expressing denial," from Old French negatif (13c.) and directly from Latin negativus "that which denies," from negat-, past participle stem of negare "deny, say no" (see deny). Meaning "expressing negation" is from c. 1500; that of "characterized by absence" is from 1560s. Algebraic sense is from 1670s. The electricity sense is from 1755.
Negative Capability, that is when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact and reason. [John Keats, letter, Dec. 21, 1817]
Related: Negatively.
negative (n.) Look up negative at
late 14c., "a prohibition; absence, nonexistence; opposite," from Old French negatif and directly from Latin negativus (see negative (adj.)). Meaning "a negative statement" is from 1560s. As a response, "I refuse, disagree, no," from 1945. Meaning "a negative quality" is from 1640s. In mathematics, "a negative number," from 1706. Photographic sense first recorded 1853.
negativism (n.) Look up negativism at
1824, "the policy of opposition;" see negative + -ism. In a psychological sense, it is attested from 1892.
negativity (n.) Look up negativity at
1842, from negative + -ity.
negatory (adj.) Look up negatory at
"expressing negation," 1570s, from Middle French negatoire or directly from Medieval Latin negatorius "negative," from Latin negatus, past participle of negare "deny, say no, to refuse" (see deny). In the sense "no" it is U.S. Air Force slang from the early 1950s.
negentropy (n.) Look up negentropy at
1950, compounded from negative entropy.
neglect (v.) Look up neglect at
1520s, from Latin neglectus, past participle of neglegere "to make light of, disregard, be indifferent to, not heed, not trouble oneself about," literally "not to pick up," variant of neclegere, from Old Latin nec "not" (see deny) + legere "pick up, select" (see lecture (n.)). Related: Neglected; neglecting.
neglect (n.) Look up neglect at
1580s, from neglect (v.) or from Latin neglectus "a neglecting," noun use of past participle of neglegere.
neglected (adj.) Look up neglected at
"not treated with proper attention," c. 1600, past participle adjective from neglect (v.).
neglectful (adj.) Look up neglectful at
1640s, from neglect + -ful. Related: Neglectfully; neglectfulness. Earlier in same sense was neglective (1610s).
neglection (n.) Look up neglection at
1590s, soon obsolete, from Latin neglectionem (nominative neglectio) "a neglecting," noun of action from past participle stem of neglegere (see neglect (v.)).
negligee (n.) Look up negligee at
1756, "a kind of loose gown worn by women," from French négligée, noun use of fem. past participle of négligier "to neglect" (14c.), from Latin neglegere "to disregard, not heed, not trouble oneself about," also "to make light of" (see neglect (v.)). So called in comparison to the elaborate costume of a fully dressed woman of the period. Grose ["Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1788] reports it "vulgarly termed a neggledigee." Borrowed again, 1835; the modern sense "semi-transparent, flimsy, lacy dressing gown" is yet another revival, first recorded 1930. It also was used in the U.S. funeral industry mid-20c. for "shroud of a corpse."
negligence (n.) Look up negligence at
mid-14c., from Old French negligence "negligence, sloth; injury, injustice" (12c.), and directly from Latin neclegentia, neglegentia "carelessness, heedlessness, neglect," from neglegentem (nominative neglegens) "heedless, careless, unconcerned," present participle of neglegere "to neglect" (see neglect (v.)).
negligent (adj.) Look up negligent at
late 14c., from Old French negligent "careless, negligent" (13c.) or directly from Latin negligentem "heedless, careless, unconcerned" (see negligence). Related: Negligently.
negligible (adj.) Look up negligible at
"capable of being neglected," 1819, from negligence + -ible. Related: Negligibly; negligibility.
negotiable (adj.) Look up negotiable at
1749, from negotiate + -able, or from French négociable (17c.). Related: Negotiably; negotiability.
negotiate (v.) Look up negotiate at
"to communicate in search of mutual agreement," 1590s, back-formation from negotiation, or else from Latin negotiatus, past participle of negotiari. In the sense of "tackle successfully" (1862), it at first meant "to clear on horseback a hedge, fence, or other obstacle" and "originated in the hunting-field; those who hunt the fox like also to hunt jocular verbal novelties" [Gowers, 1965]. Related: Negotiated; negotiating.
negotiation (n.) Look up negotiation at
early 15c., from Old French negociacion "business, trade," and directly from Latin negotiationem (nominative negotiatio) "business, traffic," noun of action from past participle stem of negotiari "carry on business, do business, act as a banker," from negotium "a business, employment, occupation, affair (public or private)," also "difficulty, pains, trouble, labor," literally "lack of leisure," from neg- "not" (see deny) + otium "ease, leisure." The sense expansion from "doing business" to also include "bargaining" about anything took place in Latin.
negotiator (n.) Look up negotiator at
1590s, "businessman," from Latin negotiator "one who carries on business by wholesale," from negotiatus, past participle of negotiari (see negotiation). Meaning "one who carries on negotiations" is from c. 1600.
negress (n.) Look up negress at
1750, from French négresse, fem. of nègre "negro," which came to French via Spanish or Portuguese (see Negro).
negrification (n.) Look up negrification at
1929, in social context, from Negro on model of pacification, etc. Johnson (1755) has the word in the literal sense "act of making black."
negritic (adj.) Look up negritic at
1878, from Negro + -itic.
negritude (n.) Look up negritude at
1950, from French négritude; see negro + -tude. Supposedly coined by young authors from the French colonies of Africa before World War II.
Negro (n.) Look up Negro at
"member of a black-skinned race of Africa," 1550s, from Spanish or Portuguese negro "black," from Latin nigrum (nominative niger) "black, dark, sable, dusky," figuratively "gloomy, unlucky, bad, wicked," of unknown origin (perhaps from PIE *nekw-t- "night;" see Watkins). As an adjective from 1590s. Use with a capital N- became general early 20c. (e.g. 1930 in "New York Times" stylebook) in reference to U.S. citizens of African descent, but because of its perceived association with white-imposed attitudes and roles the word was ousted late 1960s in this sense by Black (q.v.).
Professor Booker T. Washington, being politely interrogated ... as to whether negroes ought to be called 'negroes' or 'members of the colored race' has replied that it has long been his own practice to write and speak of members of his race as negroes, and when using the term 'negro' as a race designation to employ the capital 'N' ["Harper's Weekly," June 2, 1906]
Meaning "English language as spoken by U.S. blacks" is from 1704. French nègre is a 16c. borrowing from Spanish negro.
negroid (adj.) Look up negroid at
1844, a hybrid, from Negro and Greek suffix -oeides "like, resembling" (see -oid). As a noun from 1859.
Negrophile Look up Negrophile at
1803, from Negro + -phile.
Negrophobe (n.) Look up Negrophobe at
1864, from Negro + -phobe.
Negrophobia (n.) Look up Negrophobia at
1819, from Negro + -phobia.
Negus Look up Negus at
title of the ruler of Abyssinia, 1590s, from Amharic negush "king," from stem of nagasha "he forced, ruled."
Nehemiah Look up Nehemiah at
masc. proper name, Jewish leader under Persian king Artaxerxes, from Hebrew Nehemyah, literally "the Lord comforts."
Nehru Look up Nehru at
of a type of long, narrow jacket with a standing collar (popular in Western fashion late 1960s), 1967, a reference to Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964), first prime minister of independent India (1947-1964), who often wore such a jacket in public appearances.
neigh (v.) Look up neigh at
Old English hnægan "to neigh," probably of imitative origin (compare Old Norse gneggja "to neigh," Middle High German negen, French hennir, Japanese inanaki). Related: Neighed; neighing. As a noun from 1510s.
neighbor (n.) Look up neighbor at
Old English neahgebur (West Saxon), nehebur (Anglian) "neighbor," from neah "near" (see nigh) + gebur "dweller," related to bur "dwelling" (see bower). Common Germanic compound (cognates: Old Saxon nabur, Middle Dutch naghebuur, Dutch (na)bur, Old High German nahgibur, Middle High German nachgebur, German Nachbar). Good neighbor policy attested by 1937, but good neighbor with reference to U.S. policy toward Latin America was used by 1928 by Herbert Hoover.
neighbor (v.) Look up neighbor at
1580s, from neighbor (n.). Related: Neighbored; neighboring.
neighborhood (n.) Look up neighborhood at
mid-15c., "neighborly conduct, friendliness," from neighbor (n.) + -hood. Modern sense of "community of people who live close together" is first recorded 1620s. Phrase in the neighborhood of meaning "near, somewhere about" is first recorded 1857, American English. The Old English word for "neighborhood" was neahdæl.