1580s, "pertaining to Nemea," a wooded valley in the northern Argolis, from Greek nemos "grove, forest," from PIE *nemos (source also of Latin nemus "forest, (holy) wood" and the Celtic word for "(holy) wood, sanctuary" preserved in Gaulish nemeton, Old Irish nemed). Especially in reference to the lion there, which was said to have been killed by Herakles as one of his 12 labors. The Nemean Games were one of the four great national festivals of the ancient Greeks. The victor's garland was made of parsley.
updated on May 19, 2019