early 15c., nasale, "of or pertaining to the nose or nostrils," from Medieval Latin, from Latin nasus "nose, the nose, sense of smell," from PIE root *nas- "nose."
Of speech sounds, "uttered with resonance in the nose," attested from 1660s. As a noun, "letter or sound uttered through or partly through the nose," from 1660s. Earlier noun senses were "medicinal fluid for the nose" (early 15c.) and "part of a helmet which protects the nose and adjacent parts" (nasel, c. 1300). Related: Nasalization.