N

nadir: Point opposite the zenith; by extension, lowest or worst point in a situation. From Latin “nadir” < Arabic “nazir”=opposite to.

narrator: Person who gives a verbal account of something. From Latin “narrare”=to relate or recount + “-or”=suffix meaning a person.

naughty: Disobedient or bad, usually said of children. From Old English “nawiht”=having nothing. Meaning of “bad” from 1520.

nausea: Feeling of unease and discomfort in the stomach along with an urge to vomit. From Greek “nausia”=sea-sickness < “naus”=ship/boat.

nayaka: Leading male role in Indian performing arts, especially dance; male lover or hero in drama. Sanskrit “nayaka” < “ni”=to lead.

nectar: drink of the gods; a delicious drink. From Greek “nek”=death + “-tar”=overcoming. So, a drink for overcoming death.

nefarious: Wicked or evil. From Latin “nefarius”=offending moral law < “ne-“=not + “fas”=that which is right + “-ius”=adjective suffix.

nemesis: (a) someone’s worst enemy. (b) goddess who punishes those guilty of hubris (pride). From Greek “nemesis”=just indignation.

nerd: Slang for person skilled in technology but socially inept and introverted. From “nerts” < euphemism for “nuts”=crazy.

nexus: Connected group or series; a network. From Latin “nexus”=binding or bond < “nectare”=to bind or connect. Perhaps same root as “net.”

nickname: Familiar name given to a person or thing. From Middle English “eke”=other + “name”=name. Mishearing of “an eke name.”

night: period of darkness between dusk and dawn. From Old English “niht”=night.

nightmare: Frightening dream.. Originally a female demon that sat on a sleeper’s chest. From Old English “niht”=night + “mare”=female demon.

ninguid: Covered in snow. From Latin “ninguis”=snow + “-id”=suffix used to form adjectives from nouns.

nitpicker: Someone who focuses on and argues over tiny details. From Old English “hnitu”=nit + “pician”=to pick. Literally pick nits (lice).

niveous: Snowy, covered in snow, or white and lustrous. From Latin “niv/nix”=snow + “-ous”=suffix meaning “full of” or “characterized by.”

nocebo: Adjective used in “nocebo effect” to describe imagined or real harm caused by giving a placebo. From Latin “nocebo”=I will harm.

nose: Front facial projection with openings for breathing and smelling. From Old English “nosu” < probably Latin “nares”=nostrils.

nostalgia: Yearning for the past when things seemed better; originally homesick. From Greek “nostos”=return home + “algia”=feeling pain.

noun: Name of a person, place, or object (concrete or abstract). From Latin “nomen”=name.

novice: Beginner in a skill. Originally person new to a religious order. From Latin “novicus”=inexperienced < “novus”=new.

nudiustertian: Relating to the day before yesterday. From Latin “nudiustertianus” < “nunc”=now + dies”=day + “tertius”=third. Lit. third day

nugatory: Having no value; useless. From Latin “nugari”=to trifle + “-orius”=suffix to create adjectives.

nut: Hard-shelled dry fruit or seed, usually edible. From Middle English “nute” < Old English “hnutu.”

nychthemeron: Period of 24 hours; a day and a night. Greek “nikt”=night + “himera”=day.

nyctalopia: Reduction of vision in dim light; night blindness. Greek “nikt”=night + “alaos”=blind + “ops”=eye + “-ia”=noun-forming suffix.