Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Etymology Today from M-W: nexus \NEK-sus\
1 : connection, link; also : a causal link
2 : a connected group or series
3 : center, focus

"Nexus" is all about connections. The word comes from "nectere," a Latin verb meaning "to bind." A number of other English words are related to "nectere." The most obvious is "connect," but "annex" (meaning "to attach as an addition," or more specifically "to incorporate into a political domain") is related as well. When "nexus" came into English in the 17th century, it meant "connection." Eventually, it took on the additional meaning "connected series" (as in "a nexus of relationships"). In the past few decades it has taken a third meaning: "center" (as in "the trade nexus of the region"), perhaps from the notion that a point in the center of an arrangement serves to join together the objects that surround it.

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