Greek goddess of victory (identified by the Romans with their Victoria), literally "victory, upper hand" (in battle, in contests, in court), probably connected with neikos "quarrel, strife," neikein "to quarrel with," a word of uncertain etymology and perhaps a pre-Greek word. As the name of a type of U.S. defensive surface-to-air missiles, attested from 1952. The brand of athletic shoes and apparel, based near Portland, Oregon, has been so known since 1971, named for the Greek goddess, having been founded in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports.
Mediterranean seaport of France, ceded to France in 1860 by Sardinia; ancient Nicaea, from Greek nikaios "victorious," from nikē "victory" (see Nike). Nizzard "a resident of Nice" is from Nizza, the Italian form of the city name.
late 14c., "of or pertaining to Nicaea (Greek Nikaia, modern Turkish Isnik), city in Bithynia where an ecclesiastical council of 325 C.E. dealt with the Arian schism and produced the Nicene Creed. A second council held there (787) considered the question of images. The name is from Greek nikaios "victorious," from nikē "victory" (see Nike).
masc. proper name, from French Nicolas, from Latin Nicholaus, Nicolaus, from Greek Nikholaos, literally "victory-people," from nikē "victory" (see Nike) + laos "people" (see lay (adj.)). The saint (died 326 C.E.) was a bishop of Myra in Lycia, patron of scholars, especially schoolboys. A popular given name in England in the Middle Ages (the native form, Nicol, was more common in early Middle English), as was the fem. form Nicolaa, corresponding to French Nicole. Colloquial Old Nick "the devil" is attested from 1640s, evidently from the proper name, but for no certain reason.
fem. proper name, from Latin Berenice, from Macedonian Greek Berenike (classical Greek Pherenike), literally "bringer of victory," from pherein "to bring" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry") + nikē "victory" (see Nike).
The constellation Berenice's Hair (Coma Berenices) is from the story of the pilfered amber locks of the wife of Ptolemy Euergetes, king of Egypt, c. 248 B.C.E., which the queen cut off as an offering to Venus. The constellation features a dim but visible star cluster; Ptolemy (the astronomer) regarded it as the tuft of fur at the end of Leo's tail, but German cartographer Caspar Vopel put it on his 1536 globe, and it endured. Berenice's Hair is also sometimes incorrectly given as an old name of the star Canopus based on Holland's mistranslation of Pliny in 1601.
c. 1600, "victory involving one's own ruin," translating Greek Kadmeia nikē, from Cadmus (Greek Kadmos), legendary hero-founder of Thebes in Boeotia and bringer of the original sixteen-letter alphabet to Greece. Probably a reference to the story of Cadmus and the "Sown-Men," who fought each other till only a handful were left alive. Compare Pyrrhic (adj.1).
district south of Macedonia and east of Epirus, from Greek Thessalia (Attic Thettalia), an Illyrian name of unknown origin. Related: Thessalian. The city of Thessalonika on the Thermaic Gulf was ancient Therme, renamed when rebuilt by the Macedonian king Cassander, son of Antipater, and named in honor of his wife, Thessalonica, half-sister of Alexander the Great, whose name contains the region name and Greek nikē "victory." The adjectival form of it is Thessalonian Related: Thessalonians.