Word Origin & History
acquired name (Rus., lit. "debauchee") of Grigory Yefimovich Novykh (c.1872-1916), mystic and faith healer who held sway over court of Nicholas II of Russia. His nickname is from his doctrine of "rebirth through sin," that true holy communion must be proceeded by immersion in sin. His name used figuratively
in Eng. from 1937 for anyone felt to have an insidious and corrupting influence.