noun Australian Slang.

inferior or cheap wine.

Origin of nelly

First recorded in 1940–45; of uncertain origin


or Nel·ly



a female given name, form of Helen.
(often lowercase) Slang.
  1. Offensive.a fussily effeminate male.
  2. Extremely Disparaging and Offensive.a contemptuous term used to refer to a male homosexual. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nelly

Contemporary Examples of nelly

Historical Examples of nelly

  • Why, Nelly doesn't leave the house; I've stopped her attendance even at Barnard.

  • Is Mr. Bellmer handsome—handsome enough to be Nelly's partner?

  • Of course, as fast as I can lay hands on them, I'm destroying every likeness of the old Nelly.

  • But Nelly is coming bravely through a severe test of character.

  • Grand and beautiful as she is to others, to him she is still his little Nelly.

British Dictionary definitions for nelly


noun not on your nelly

(sentence substitute) British slang not under any circumstances; certainly not
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 nelly


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with nelly


see nervous nellie.

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