Etymology
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nil (n.)

"nothing," 1833, from Latin nil, contraction of nihil, nihilum "nothing, not at all; in vain," from ne- "not" (from PIE root *ne- "not") + hilum "small thing, trifle," which is of unknown origin. The Latin phrase nil desperandum, used loosely for "never give up," is literally "nothing is to be despaired of," from the gerundive of desperare.

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Definitions of nil

nil (n.)
a quantity of no importance;
reduced to nil all the work we had done
Synonyms: nothing / nix / nada / null / aught / cipher / cypher / goose egg / naught / zero / zilch / zip / zippo
From wordnet.princeton.edu