- With rejection or negation, usually in response to an idea
- Negative exclamation, usually as a warning
- To reject; forbid; dispose of
As a noun, nix simply means "nothing," which is the oldest and most informal definition of the word. In fact, in many languages, nix serves as slang. It is often used in response to something undesirable. For example, if you were to see a couple dozen beetles inhabiting your room, you could yell "nix!" in horror. The term is often used as a warning or an exclamation of fear or disgust, similar to "Oh no!" or "Uh oh!"
In turn, you'd most likely call someone to nix, or exterminate, those nasty insects. The verb form of nix requires an object—in this case, the bugs. You can nix an object, a living thing, an idea, etc., meaning you may reject, veto, or dispose of it. Nix is also a form of negation, expressing refusal or rejection to a particular notion. In disagreement, one may nix a leader's rules and regulations.
In German folklore, nix (plural nixie) is a water spirit, or a creature of human form that lures passersby into his underwater home. Nixie are similar to Greek Sirens, who attract humans with the beautiful Siren's Song only to lead them to their death. Because they are water spirits, nixie guide humans underwater to drown. They may be interpreted as sources of danger, which connects to the interjection form of nix that is used as a cry for caution.
Another popular association of the word is Pluto's moon, Nix. Its name comes from the Greek mythology; Nyx (spelled with a "y") was the Greek goddess of night.
Example: Jenny asked her boyfriend what was bothering him, but he said "Nix."
Example: When the teacher asked if his students wanted homework, they responded in nix.
Example: "Nix!" she exclaimed to her friends as they attempted to leave school early. "The principal sees us!"
Example: Because there is no snow on the ground, the school board will nix the principal's decision to cancel school.
The noun form of nix originated in the 1780s from the German word nichts, which meant "nothing." In the early 1900s, the verb form of nix was coined.
Nixes: This verb form is the present action of refusing or exterminating.
Example: The exterminator nixes the termites.
Nixed: This verb form is the past action of refusing or exterminating.
Example: The doctor nixed her fears by assuring her that she is cancer free.
Nixing: This present progressive form of the verb nix is used when the subject is in the midst of refusing or exterminating.
Example: He is nixing the meaningless project as we speak.
Nixie (plural: Nixies): The US Postal Service uses this clever derivative of the word nix to describe a piece of mail which cannot be delivered because of an issue with the address provided by the sender.
From Edward A. Steiner's Introducing the American Spirit:
The waiter was the first to recover his composure, and cautiously suggested that the gentleman might like some Lobster à la Newburgh."Nix," said the Nebraskan, "I want lobster à la Milkburgh, and don't forget the pickles."
Steiner uses nix as another word for "no." The Nebraskan refused the waiter's food suggestion and stuck with his original order.
- "Nix! We lost the chicks!"
- Fix the house; nix the termites!
Bring out the linguist in you! What is your own interpretation of nix. Did you use nix in a game? Provide an example sentence or a literary quote.