When the word nectar was first borrowed into English in 1555, it was in the more classical sense of "food of the gods", and the definition was quickly extended to more abstract uses such as describing sweet liquids (1559) and that fluid in plants (around 1600). The noun, through Latin, traces to the Ancient Greek word nektar, also describing the mythological drink of the gods, and that's thought to derive from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction nek, meaning "death" (making it related to words like innocent, noxious, pernicious, and necropolis). Nectarine, originally spelled nectrine, was coined in the seventeenth century (likely modelled on German nektarpfirsich, meaning "nectar peach"). Literary usages of both nectar and nectarine have been fairly constant throughout the years.
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Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.