Origin of nudge1
OTHER WORDS FROM nudgenudger, noun
Words nearby nudge
Other definitions for nudge (2 of 2)
or noodge, nudzh
Origin of nudge2
BEHIND THE WORD
Where does the word nudge come from?
As our definitions show above, nudge is a verb meaning “to push slightly or gently, specifically with an elbow when doing so literally, in order to get someone’s attention or to prod someone along.” A nudge is also a noun, meaning “a slight or gentle push or jog, especially with the elbow.”
But as far as we’re concerned, the origin of the word nudge could certainly stand to budge, as it’s often considered obscure.
However, we suspect nudge, found by 1665–75, comes from a dialectical variation of knidge or nidge, related to the Old English cnucian or cnocian, meaning “to knock.” Every now and again, maybe a stubborn word origin just needs a little … nudge.
Nudge isn’t alone: it finds lots of company in other English words that seem simple but whose origins are not. Discover more in our slideshow “‘Dog,’ ‘Boy,’ And Other Words That We Don’t Know Where They Came From.”
Did you know … ?
A nudge can be an annoying push (e.g., The guy behind me in line kept nudging me with his elbow). Or, a nudge can be a friendly, gentle reminder, as in I couldn’t figure out what the right answer was so my teacher gave me a little nudge in the right direction.
Nudge has a homograph in the word nudge, pronounced [ nooj ] and sometimes spelled noodge or nudzh. This nudge, referring to nagging, comes from Yiddish and is related to the word nudnik, “a persistently dull, boring pest”—perhaps like that feller who won’t stop nudging you in line!
A physical nudge is typically done with the elbow. (Just ask our friend in line.) While you certainly could nudge someone with other body parts, we often use other similar words, such as poke, jab, punch, tap, slap, bump, pat, or even lick, for these actions.
How to use nudge in a sentence
The revamped forms and text messages are examples of what behavioral scientists call nudges, relatively inexpensive behavior changers that stem from psychological research.Easy interventions like revamping forms help people show up to court|Sujata Gupta|October 8, 2020|Science News
For instance, she speculated that the kind of cautionary nudges Nextdoor gives its users could also help make emails within companies kinder.
Such nudges are preferable to simply letting moderators decide after the fact which content gets deleted and which can stay.
At first, laser pulses simply couldn’t be made short enough to deliver a sufficiently rapid sequence of nudges.
They reached out to 800 households and gave half of them a series of nudges designed to encourage environmentally friendly behaviors.How a vacation—or a pandemic—can help you adopt better habits now|matthewheimer|September 12, 2020|Fortune
It was another of the nudge, nudge, wink, wink jokes that summed up the entire enterprise.Britain’s Record-Breaking Face-Sitting Porn Protest|Nico Hines|December 12, 2014|DAILY BEAST
(Mulgrew could actually nudge out Chlumsky and land that sixth slot).
Crow married and says that midway through the Clinton presidency his wife began to nudge him to the left.
I returned to the back of the swing, and again, gave it a wee nudge.
And for a small—but not insignificant—number of people, pot can be the chemical nudge that causes them harm.
It was beyond human nature for the detective man not to nudge Stanton once in the ribs.Molly Make-Believe|Eleanor Hallowell Abbott
Then the spectators ranged along the wall would burst out laughing, nudge each other and stamp their feet on the floor.Maupassant Original Short Stories (180), Complete|Guy de Maupassant
Hildreth gave me a nudge and a merry look and it pleased me to see she still had her sense of humour left.Tramping on Life|Harry Kemp
She gave her friend a nudge, and pointed in the direction of the sounds, and the two watched and listened.Blackfeet Tales of Glacier National Park|James Willard Schultz
Mrs. Roberts, without seeming to be aware of their presence, lost not a wriggle or a nudge.Ester Ried Yet Speaking|Isabella Alden