• synonyms


or Nel·ly

  1. a female given name, form of Helen.
  2. (often lowercase) Slang.
    1. Offensive.a fussily effeminate male.
    2. Extremely Disparaging and Offensive.a contemptuous term used to refer to a male homosexual.
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noun Australian Slang.
  1. inferior or cheap wine.
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Origin of nelly

First recorded in 1940–45; of uncertain origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nellies

Historical Examples

  • Why, its Nellies gingham dress; the very one she wore the other day.

    The Motor Girls at Lookout Beach

    Margaret Penrose

  • They seem to have only one oar, and Nellies trying to steer with that.

  • You know how Nellies father isalways joking and the like; and he enjoys puzzling Mammy Jinny.

    The Girls of Central High on Track and Field

    David Goodger (goodger@python.org)

  • Rose kissed the sad little face, and brushed back the rudely cropped hair, that lay in ringlets on Nellies head.

  • And maybe this poor fellow will come to his senses and try Nellies lemon meringue pieits a dandy, Nellie!

British Dictionary definitions for nellies


noun not on your nelly
  1. (sentence substitute) British slang not under any circumstances; certainly not
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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 nellies


fem. proper name, also Nellie, diminutive of Nell, a pet form of Ellen, Helen, or Eleanor. Meaning "weak-spirited person" is first attested 1961.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with nellies


see nervous nellie.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.