Old English niþera, neoþera "down, downwards, lower, below, beneath," from Proto-Germanic *nitheraz (source also of Old Saxon nithar, Old Norse niðr, which contributed to the English word, Old Frisian nither, Dutch neder, German nieder), from comparative of PIE *ni- "down, below" (source also of Sanskrit ni "down," nitaram "downward," Greek neiothen "from below," Old Church Slavonic nizŭ "low, down").
Also an adverb in Old English and Middle English. It has been replaced in most senses by lower (adj.). Of countries, "situated on lower ground" (late 14c.). In Middle English (and after) used also of body parts.
Absolon hath kist hir nether eye. [Chaucer, "Miller's Tale"]
European nation along the North Sea west of Germany, from Dutch Nederland, literally "lower land" (see nether); said to have been used especially by the Austrians (who ruled much of the southern part of the Low Countries from 1713 to 1795), by way of contrast to the mountains they knew, but the name is older than this. The Netherlands formerly included Flanders and thus were equivalent geographically and etymologically to the Low Countries. Related: Netherlander; Netherlandish (both c. 1600). In German terms, Netherlander is contrasted with Dutch Overlander, German Oberländer.
c. 1400, "native sodium carbonate" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French nitre (13c.), from Latin nitrum, from Greek nitron, which is possibly of Eastern origin (compare Hebrew nether "carbonate of soda;" Egyptian ntr). Originally a word for native soda, but also associated since the Middle Ages with saltpeter (potassium nitrate) for obscure reasons; this became the predominant sense by late 16c.
"not one or the other," Middle English neither, naither, nether, from Old English nawþer, contraction of nahwæþer, literally "not of two," from na "no" (from PIE root *ne- "not") + hwæþer "which of two" (see whether). Spelling altered c. 1200 by association with either. Paired with nor from c. 1300; earlier with ne. Meaning "not in any case, in no case, not at all" is from 1550s. Also used in late Old English as a pronoun. As an adjective, "not either," mid-14c.
also sans-culotte, "lower-class republican of the French Revolution," 1790, from French, literally "without breeches;" see sans + culottes. This usually is explained as referring to the class whose distinctive costume was pantalons (long trousers) as opposed to the upper classes, which wore culottes (knee-breeches), but this is not certain. Whatever the origin, the name was embraced from the start by the revolutionists of Paris. Related: Sansculottes; sansculotterie; sansculottic; sansculottism. "opinions and principles of the sancullotes."
Unhappy Friends of Freedom ; consolidating a Revolution ! They must sit at work there, their pavilion spread on very Chaos ; between two hostile worlds, the Upper Court-world, the nether Sansculottic one ; and, beaten on by both, toil painfully, perilously,—doing, in sad literal earnest, 'the impossible.' [Carlyle, "The French Revolution"]