Etymology
Advertisement
never (adv.)

Middle English never, from Old English næfre "not ever, at no time," a compound of ne "not, no" (from PIE root *ne- "not") + æfre "ever" (see ever). Early used as an emphatic form of not (as still in never mind). Old English, unlike its modern descendant, had the useful custom of attaching ne to words to create their negatives, as in nabban for na habban "not to have."

Italian giammai, French jamais, Spanish jamas are from Latin iam "already" + magis "more;" thus literally "at any time, ever," originally with a negative, but this has been so thoroughly absorbed in sense as to be formally omitted.

Phrase never say die "don't despair" is from 1818. Never Never Land is first attested in Australia as a name for the uninhabited northern part of Queensland (1884), perhaps so called because anyone who had gone there once never wished to return. Meaning "imaginary, illusory or utopian place" is attested by 1900 in American English. J.M. Barrie's use of the full form for the island home of the Lost Boys is by 1905.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
never-ending (adj.)

also neverending, "perpetual, without end, everlasting," 1660s, from never + present participle of end (v.).

Related entries & more 
never-was (n.)

"person who never amounted to anything," 1911, from never + was; probably coined to go with used-to-be or has-been.

Related entries & more 
ne'er 
c. 1200, contraction of never.
Related entries & more 
nevermore (adv.)

"no longer, not any more, never again," early 12c., from never + more (adv.). Also in Middle English as never-mo, never-the-mo.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
nevermind (n.)

also never-mind "difference, matter for attention," 1935, American English, from verbal expression never mind "forget it, pay no attention to it," originally never mind it attested by 1795; see never + mind (v.).

Related entries & more 
nevertheless (adv.)

"notwithstanding," early 14c., neuer þe lesse; as one word from mid-14c., neuerþeles. The sense of never here is "not at all; none the," as in unmerged expressions such as never the wiser, never the worse. In the same sense Middle English also had never-less (early 14c.),  neverthelater (c. 1200), never-later (late 14c.).

Related entries & more 
*aiw- 

also *ayu-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "vital force, life; long life, eternity."

It forms all or part of: age; aught (n.1) "something; anything;" aye (adv.) "always, ever;" Ayurvedic; coetaneous; coeval; each; eon; eternal; eternity; ever; every; ewigkeit; hygiene; longevity; medieval; nay; never; no; primeval; sempiternal; tarnation; utopia

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit ayu- "life;" Avestan aiiu "age, life(time);" Greek aiōn "age, vital force; a period of existence, a lifetime, a generation; a long space of time," in plural, "eternity;" Latin aevum "space of time, eternity;" Gothic aiws "age, eternity," Old Norse ævi "lifetime," German ewig "everlasting," Old English a "ever, always."  

Related entries & more 
*ne- 
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "not."

It forms all or part of: a- (3) "not, without;" abnegate; ahimsa; an- (1) privative prefix; annihilate; annul; aught (n.2) "zero, nothing;" deny; hobnob; in- (1) "not, opposite of, without;" ixnay; naught; naughty; nay; nefarious; negate; neglect; negligee; negotiate; neither; nepenthe; nescience; nescient; neuter; never; nice; nihilism; nihility; nil; nill; nimiety; nix; no; non-; none; nonplus; nor; not; nothing; null; nullify; nulliparous; renegade; renege; un- (1) prefix of negation; willy-nilly.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit a-, an- "not;" Avestan na "not;" Greek a-, an-, ne- "not;" Latin in- "not," ne "that not;" Old Church Slavonic and Lithuanian ne "not;" Old Irish an-, ni, Cornish ny "not;" Gothic and Old English un- "not."
Related entries & more 
nary (adj.)

1746, alteration of ne'er a, short for never a. Thus nary a is pleonastic.

Related entries & more