nix

Umslopogas

New Member
English - England
One of your definitions of nix gives it as a warning of the approach of someone in authority; in my school we used nix for precisely that purpose and to the exclusion of the more common KV or cave. It was held up as unique to our establishment and based on the fact that one of the schoolmasters' names was Snow for which the latin is nix. Is the worthy Mr Snow indeed the origin of this usage or is there another explanation for nix meaning beware?
 
  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    If you read the rest of that definition, it (a) says that this word is dated, so I'm sure it was used long before you were in school or Mr. Snow was a schoolmaster; and (b) gives a plausible derivation, which has nothing to do with Latin (and which answers your question).
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    The first OED citation for "nix" meaning "beware!" or "look out!" dates from 1860:
    1860 J. C. Hotten Dict. Slang (ed. 2) , Nix!, the signal word of school boys to each other that the master, or other person in authority, is approaching.
    So unless you're a lot older than you look, Umslopogas, it's not going to originate with your Mr Snow....:)
     

    Umslopogas

    New Member
    English - England
    Many thanks; it all started with someone who sent me an e-mail with photos of the snow in Piedmont - except they forgot to attach the pics so I had nix pics of nix; if you see what I mean. Anyway, thanks to you all.
     
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