- naff[naff 词源字典]
- naff:  There seem to be two separate words naff in British slang, but the origins of both are mysterious. The first, naff off, appeared in the 1950s. Functionally it is a euphemistic substitute for fuck off, and there could be some connection with eff, another euphemism for fuck (perhaps the n in an eff wandered out of place). Alternatively it could come from naf, an old backslang reversal of fan in the sense ‘female genitals’.
The second, an adjective meaning ‘unstylish, unfashionable, tasteless’, is first recorded in 1969. Its antecedents are even more obscure. Among possible relatives are northern English dialect niffy-naffy ‘stupid’ and naffy, naffin and naffhead ‘idiot’ and Scots nyaff ‘unpleasant person’.
[naff etymology, naff origin, 英语词源]
- nail: [OE] The Indo-European ancestor of nail was *nogh- or *onogh-. The latter was the source of Latin unguis (which evolved into French ongle and Italian unghia and has given English ungulate ) and Greek ónux (source of English onyx). Both these strands refer only to the sort of nails that grow on fingers and toes, but the Germanic branch of the family (which has come from *nogh- through a prehistoric Germanic *naglaz) has differentiated into a ‘fastening pin’ – originally of wood, latterly of metal.
Hence English nail and German nagel cover both meanings (although Dutch and Swedish nagel and Danish negl are used only for the anatomical ‘nail’).
=> onyx, ungulate
- naive: see native
- naked: [OE] Naked goes back ultimately to Indo- European *nogw- ‘unclothed’, which also produced Latin nūdus (source of English nude ) and Russian nagój ‘naked’. The past participial form derived from this, *nogwedhos, passed into prehistoric Germanic as *naquethaz, which has subsequently differentiated to German nackt, Dutch naakt, Swedish naken, Danish nøgen, and English naked.
- namby-pamby:  Namby-pamby originated in the early 18th century as a derisive nickname for the English poet Ambrose Philips (1674– 1749), who wrote feebly sentimental pastorals (‘Dimply damsel, sweetly smiling’ gives something of their flavour). They appear to have got on the nerves particularly of his contemporary, the author Henry Carey (?1687– 1741), who is credited with coining the nickname (based, of course, on the first syllable of Philip’s forename). The first record of its use as a general term comes from 1745.
- name: [OE] Name is an ancient word, which traces its history back to Indo-European *-nomen-. This has produced Latin nōmen (source of English nominate, noun, etc), Greek ónoma (source of English anonymous  – etymologically ‘nameless’ – and synonym ), Welsh enw, and Russian imja, among many others. Its prehistoric Germanic descendant was *namōn, which has evolved to German and English name, Dutch naam, Swedish namn, and Danish navn.
=> anonymous, nominate, noun, synonym
- namesake: see sake
- napalm:  Napalm, a jelly-like substance, is made by thickening petrol with the aluminium salts of naphthenic acid and palmitic acid, and the term napalm was coined in the early 1940s from the first syllables of naphthenic and palmitic (the former is from naphtha , ultimately of Greek origin, the latter from Latin palma (see PALM), because the acid is obtained from palm oil). It was used in World War II, but it was the Korean War that really brought it to public attention, and it is from then that the use of napalm as a verb dates.
- napkin:  Latin mappa meant ‘cloth’ (it is the source of English map). As it passed into Old French its m became transformed into an n, producing nappe. This was borrowed into English as the long-defunct nape ‘cloth’, which, with the addition of the diminutive suffix -kin, has bequeathed napkin to modern English. The abbreviation nappy dates from the early 20th century. From derivatives of Old French nappe English also gets apron and napery .
=> apron, map
- narcissus:  The plant-name narcissus goes back via Latin to Greek narkissos. Writers of ancient times such as Pliny and Plutarch connected it with Greek nárkē ‘numbness’ (source of English narcotic), a tempting inference given the plant’s sedative effect, but in fact it probably came from an unknown pre- Greek Aegean language. In Greek mythology the name passed to a vain youth who was punished by the gods for spurning the love of Echo.
They made him fall in love with the reflection of his beautiful features in a pool. He died gazing at his own image and was changed into a narcissus plant. In the 19th century his story inspired the word narcissism. At first it was just a general term for excessive self-admiration and self-centredness, but in the 1890s (probably at the hands of the sexologist Havelock Ellis) it became a technical term for a specific personality disorder marked by those traits.
- narcotic:  Greek nárkē meant ‘numbness’. From it was derived the verb narkoun ‘make numb’, which in turn formed the basis of the adjective narkōtikós ‘numbing’, which passed into English via medieval Latin narcōticus and Old French narcotique.
- narrate:  To narrate something is etymologically to ‘make it known’. The word comes from Latin narrāre ‘give an account of’, which was derived from gnārus ‘knowing’ and is hence related to English ignore, recognize, and, distantly, know. English acquired the derived noun narration  considerably earlier than the verb (which was widely condemned in the 18th century for its inelegance), and it could be that narrate represents a back-formation from narration rather than a new introduction directly from the Latin verb.
=> ignore, know, recognize
- narrow: [OE] Narrow comes from a prehistoric Germanic *narwaz, whose only other modern representative is Dutch naar ‘unpleasant, sad’ (although it also occurs in Norva-sund, the Old Norse term for the ‘Straits of Gibraltar’). It is not known for certain where it comes from, but a connection has been suggested with Latin nervus ‘sinew, bowstring’ (source of English nerve) and Old High German snuor ‘string’, which might point back to an ancestral sense ‘tying together tightly’.
- narwhal:  The narwhal, a small arctic whale with a long unicorn-like tusk, is whitish in colour, which evidently reminded Viking seafarers somewhat morbidly of a corpse, for they named it in Old Icelandic nāhvalr, literally ‘corpse whale’. In Danish and Norwegian this became narhval, and English took it over and partially anglicized it as narh whale. Over the centuries this has contracted to narwhal.
- nascent: see native
- nasturtium:  The nasturtium plant has a peppery taste (its immature flower buds are often used as an alternative to capers), and tradition has it that the Romans named it nasturtium because its pungency made them pucker up their noses. According to this theory, the word is an alteration of an earlier *nāsitortium, which would have been a compound formed from nāsus ‘nose’ and tort-, the past participle stem of torquēre ‘twist’ (source of English torture).
- nasty:  Nasty, now such a widespread term of disapproval, is not that ancient a word in English, and it is not too certain where it came from. In the 14th and 15th centuries it was often spelled naxty, and this, together with one early 17th-century example of nasky, has suggested some connection with Swedish dialect naskug ‘dirty, nasty’. And a link has also been proposed with Dutch nestig ‘dirty’, which may denote etymologically ‘made dirty like a bird’s nest’. ‘Dirty’ was the original sense of the English adjective; the more general ‘unpleasant’ did not begin to emerge until the end of the 17th century.
- natal: see native
- nation:  Etymologically a nation is a ‘breed’ or ‘stock’. It is one of a wide range of English words that go back ultimately to Latin nāscī ‘be born’, and its immediate source is the derived noun nātiō. This literally meant ‘that which has been born’, a ‘breed’, but was soon used by extension for a ‘species’ or ‘race’, and then by further narrowing down for a ‘race of people, nation’.
The notion of ‘common ancestry’ underlying the term survived into English, but over the centuries has gradually been overtaken by the political concept of an organized territorial unit. The derivative nationality dates from the 17th century.
- native:  Native is one of a large family of English words that go back ultimately to the Latin verb nāscī. This meant ‘be born’, and was a descendant of the Indo-European base *gen-, *gn- ‘produce’, which also gave English gene, general, generate, etc. From its past participial stem nāt- was formed the adjective nātīvus ‘from birth, born’, which has produced English native (and also, via Old French, naive , which is etymologically the equivalent of ‘born yesterday’), and also its derivative nativity  (applied from earliest times specifically to the birth of Christ).
Other English words from the same source include cognate , innate , nascent , natal , nation, nature, noel (earlier nowel , from an Old French descendant of Latin nātālis ‘of birth’), pregnant, puny, and renaissance  (literally ‘rebirth’).
=> cognate, gene, general, generate, innate, naive, nascent, nation, nature, noel, pregnant, puny, renaissance