"agile, light-footed," c. 1300, nemel, from Old English næmel "quick to grasp" (attested but once), related to niman "to take," from Proto-Germanic *neman (source also of Old Saxon, Old Dutch, Gothic niman, Old Norse nema, Old Frisian nima, German nehmen "to take"), from PIE root *nem- "assign, allot; take." With unetymological -b- from c. 1500 (compare limb (n.1)). Related: Nimbleness. In 17c., English had nimblechaps "talkative fellow."
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