"pellagra-preventing vitamin in enriched bread," 1942, coined from first syllables of nicotinic acid (see nicotine) + chemical suffix -in (2). It was suggested by the American Medical Association as a more commercially viable name than nicotinic acid.
The new name was found to be necessary because some anti-tobacco groups warned against enriched bread because it would foster the cigarette habit. ["Cooperative Consumer," Feb. 28, 1942]
late 14c., "to destroy by separating into parts which cannot be reunited, as by burning or eating," hence "destroy the substance of, annihilate," from Old French consumer "to consume" (12c.) and directly from Latin consumere "to use up, eat, waste," from assimilated form of com-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + sumere "to take," from sub- "under" (see sub-) + emere "to buy, take" (from PIE root *em- "to take, distribute").
Specifically, "to destroy by use, wear out by applying to its natural or intended use" from c. 1400. Sense of "to engage the full attention and energy of" is from 1570s.
1938, coined, according to DuPont, from a random generic syllable nyl- + -on, a common ending in fiber names (compare rayon and later Dacron), said to be ultimately from cotton. "Consumer Reports" in 1939 called it "duPont's much-publicised new miracle yarn, which is scheduled to appear in 5,000,000 stockings next year and which is meantime giving rise to many rumors, hopes and fears." As an adjective from 1939. Nylons for "nylon stockings" is from 1940.
Nylon is the generic name chosen by the Dupont Company for a group of materials classed as synthetic linear superpolymers. It has also been defined as a "Man made protein-like chemical product (polyamide) which may be formed into fibers, bristles, sheets, and other forms, characterized when drawn by extreme toughness, elasticity, and strength." ["The Michigan Technic," August 1945]