Nexus

Ben Jamin

Senior Member
Polish
Wikipedia states that nexum was an old Roman institution of a limited slavery contract, and nexus was a person living in this kind of slavery.
The etymology of the word is unclear.

I have noticed that the word nexus has recently become very much used in popular culture and commerce.

Can anyone explain how it happened to be used in present times?
 
Last edited:
  • M Mira

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Isn't it the passive perfect participle of necto "I bind"? So the neuter nexum should mean something like "a bound thing" and masculine nexus something like "a bound man".

    Two noticeable things with the name I know are NexusMod, an Elder Scroll fan site launched in 2007 and Google Nexus phones, first launchedin 2010.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Isn't it the passive perfect participle of necto "I bind"? So the neuter nexum should mean something like "a bound thing" and masculine nexus something like "a bound man".

    Two noticeable things with the name I know are NexusMod, an Elder Scroll fan site launched in 2007 and Google Nexus phones, first launchedin 2010.

    Your etymology sounds plausible, but I'm not an expert to discuss it.

    There is much more use of the word than you have quoted.
    Here you can find Nexus galore uses: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nexus.
     

    Quiviscumque

    Moderator
    Spanish-Spain
    1) "Nexum" or "nexus" (noun) was an old Roman institution. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nexum . There are dozens of erudite dissertations about it but, yes, the idea is that it was a kind of "self-mancipatio" by which the person of the debtor (also "nexus", participle and hence adjective and noun) was subject to the creditor's "manus". Plebeians -so it is said- got a "Lex Poetelia Papiria" in 326 B. C. that abolished the institution.

    2) The etymology of this "nexus" is clear: from "necto", "to bind". Notice that it is not so different from "obligatio" (from "ligare").

    3) However, this is not the only meaning of "nexus". In general it means "binding":
    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0059:entry=nexus2

    4) According to etymonline (I suppose that the source is OED) the word appears with that meaning ("link") in English about 1660.

    5) And that is why so many products or bussinesses that want to suggest "communication" or "union" use this word.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    1) "Nexum" or "nexus" (noun) was an old Roman institution. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nexum . There are dozens of erudite dissertations about it but, yes, the idea is that it was a kind of "self-mancipatio" by which the person of the debtor (also "nexus", participle and hence adjective and noun) was subject to the creditor's "manus". Plebeians -so it is said- got a "Lex Poetelia Papiria" in 326 B. C. that abolished the institution.

    2) The etymology of this "nexus" is clear: from "necto", "to bind". Notice that it is not so different from "obligatio" (from "ligare").

    3) However, this is not the only meaning of "nexus". In general it means "binding":
    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0059:entry=nexus2

    4) According to etymonline (I suppose that the source is OED) the word appears with that meaning ("link") in English about 1660.

    5) And that is why so many products or bussinesses that want to suggest "communication" or "union" use this word.

    Thank you very much! It is very interesting.
    However, I'm still wondering what is the reason of such a sudden explosion of use of this word during the last maybe 20 years, while it has been in use since 1660 in English. I suspect it must have been something that happened in the mass culture, a film, a song or a book (in this order of likelihood).
     

    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Hi,
    First,
    If the choice is the Nominative, so it points to 'I bind/connect'.
    Secondly,
    I also think it's taken from Biology, 'intercellular communication ", as it refers more to the type of the communicative ways among us.

    Thirdly,
    It looks more like a clue of who is providing the 'bondage' which is of course upgraded to our times:

    'I am the only one to link you to this type of communication'.
     
    Last edited:

    Gavril

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    This is just a guess, but maybe the rise of the term nexus in the past 20-30 years has something to do with the rise of computer networks over the same period, leading people to talk more about "nexuses" of information/communication/etc.?

    I'm not sure if nexus is a technical term in computing, but it often seems to show up as a product or brand name connected with computers and/or phones: for example, Nexus Telecom, Cisco Nexus (a type of network switch), and the Nexus line of phones/tablets.
     

    djmc

    Senior Member
    English - United Kingdom
    In my copy of the Shorter OED - not at all the latest gives the first occurrence 1663. bond or link. Also a connected group or series 1858. It is quite common in talking / writing about computing but is not a technical term. It would mean something like network.
     
    Top