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[nik-uh-luh s, nik-luh s]
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  1. of Cu·sa [kyoo-zuh] /ˈkyu zə/, 1401–1464, German cardinal, mathematician, and philosopher.German Nikolaus von Cusa.
  2. Grand Duke,1856–1929, Russian general in World War I.
  3. Saint,flourished 4th century a.d., bishop in Asia Minor: patron saint of Russia; protector of children and prototype of the legendary Santa Claus.
  4. a male given name: from Greek words meaning “victory” and “people.”

Nicholas I

  1. SaintNicholas the Great, died a.d. 867, Italian ecclesiastic: pope 858–867.
  2. 1796–1855, czar of Russia 1825–55.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for nicholas, saint


  1. Saint. 4th-century ad bishop of Myra, in Asia Minor; patron saint of Russia and of children, sailors, merchants, and pawnbrokers. Feast day: Dec 6See also Santa Claus

Nicholas I

  1. Saint, called the Great. died 867 ad, Italian ecclesiastic; pope (858–867). He championed papal supremacy. Feast day: Nov 13
  2. 1796–1855, tsar of Russia (1825–55). He gained notoriety for his autocracy and his emphasis on military discipline and bureaucracy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for nicholas, saint


masc. proper name, from French Nicolas, from Latin Nicholaus, Nicolaus, from Greek Nikholaos, literally "victory-people," from nike "victory" (see Nike) + laos "people" (see lay (adj.)). The saint (obit. 326 C.E.) was a bishop of Myra in Lycia, patron of scholars, especially schoolboys. A popular given name in England in Middle Ages, as was the fem. form Nicolaa, corresponding to French Nicole. Colloquial Old Nick "the devil" is attested from 1640s, evidently from the proper name, but for no certain reason.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nicholas, saint in Culture

Nicholas, Saint

A Greek fourth-century bishop, Nicholas was known for his kindness. Santa Claus is an English version of his Dutch name, Sinter Klaas. Legends about him, stating that he gave presents in secret to persons in trouble, contributed to the traditions surrounding Santa Claus.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.