• N •
Word Meaning Eponym
namby-pamby Weak and sentimental, insipid, childishly simple. A disparaging imitation of a childish pronunciation of the name of Ambrose Philips (1675-1749), author of sentimental poems for and about children.
narcissism Infatuation with oneself. Narcissus, a beautiful young man of Greek mythology who looked into a reflective pool and fell in love with the image of himself.
nebuchadnezzar A huge wine bottle holding 20 normal bottles of wine; used mostly for display. Nebuchadnezzar (circa 630-562 BCE), king of Chaldea who captured and destroyed Jerusalem and exiled the Israelites to Babylonia.
negus A mixture of wine, hot water, lemon juice, sugar, and nutmeg. Colonel Francis Negus, a colonel in the British army who died in 1732 after drinking negus.
nemesis 1. The source of damage, harm, or destruction. 2. Strong, inevitable retribution. 3. An opponent or other threat that cannot be escaped or defeated. Nemesis, the Greek goddess of retribution.
nestor A wise old man. Nestor, a legendary Greek king of Pylos, reputedly very wise.
newton The unit of force required to accelerate a mass of one kilogram one meter per second per second. Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), British physicist and mathematician who first formulated the theory of gravity and invented differential calculus.
nicotine The poisonous addictive chemical in tobacco smoke. Jean Nicot (1530-1600), the French ambassador to Portugal, who promoted smoking by sending tobacco seeds and leaves to France in the mid 16th century.
nosey parker A busybody. Matthew Parker (1504-1575), Archbishop of Canterbury from 1559-1575, who developed a reputation for sticking his nose in other people's business.
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