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90s Slang You Should Know


[nes] /nɛs/
a headland; promontory; cape.
Origin of ness
before 900; Middle English -nes(se) (in place names), in part continuing Old English næs, in part < Old Norse nes; akin to nose


a native English suffix attached to adjectives and participles, forming abstract nouns denoting quality and state (and often, by extension, something exemplifying a quality or state):
darkness; goodness; kindness; obligingness; preparedness.
Middle English, Old English -nes, -nis, cognate with German -nis, Gothic -(n)assus; suffix orig. *-assus; -n- by false division of words with adj. and past participle stems ending in -n-; compare Old English efnes (later efen-nys) evenness Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Thence they were conducted over the bridge of ness, and dismissed everyone armless and harmless to his own house.

  • The ness was a mile off, but in the excitement of their pleasure they were oblivious of time.

    Eric, or Little by Little Frederic W. Farrar
  • Obscene′ness, Obscen′ity, quality of being obscene: lewdness.

  • Thank you for the information, ness, but they say none are so deaf as those who will not hear.

    The Lost Middy George Manville Fenn
  • To be strictly accurate, the significance of the -ness is not quite as inherently determined, as autonomous, as it might be.

    Language Edward Sapir
  • The summer afterwards Mr. Corbet came again to read with Mr. ness.

    A Dark Night's Work Elizabeth Gaskell
  • There they saw a man coming down from the ness above them; Gunnar went on shore to meet the man, and they had a talk.

British Dictionary definitions for ness


  1. (archaic) a promontory or headland
  2. (capital as part of a name): Orford Ness
Word Origin
Old English næs headland; related to Old Norse nes, Old English nasunose


Loch Ness, a lake in NW Scotland, in the Great Glen: said to be inhabited by an aquatic monster. Length: 36 km (22.5 miles). Depth: 229 m (754 ft)


indicating state, condition, or quality, or an instance of one of these: greatness, selfishness, meaninglessness, a kindness
Word Origin
Old English -nes, of Germanic origin; related to Gothic -nassus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for ness

obsolete except in place names, Old English næs "a promontory," related to nasu "nose" (see nose (n.)). Cognate with Old Norse nes, Danish næs, Swedish näs, Middle Dutch nesse.


word-forming element denoting action, quality, or state, attached to an adjective or past participle to form an abstract noun, from Old English -nes(s), from West Germanic *in-assu- (cf. Old Saxon -nissi, Middle Dutch -nisse, Dutch -nis, Old High German -nissa, German -nis, Gothic -inassus), from *-in-, noun stem, + *-assu-, abstract noun suffix, probably from the same root as Latin -tudo (see -tude).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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