O.E. niþera, neoþera "down, downwards, below, beneath," from P.Gmc. *nitheraz (cf. O.S. nithar, O.N. niðr, O.Fris. nither, Du. neder, Ger. nieder), comp. of PIE *ni- "down, below" (cf. Skt. ni "down," nitaram "downward," Gk. neiothen "from below," O.C.S. nizu "low, down"). Has been replaced in most senses by lower. The Netherlands formerly included Flanders and thus were equivalent geographically and etymologically to the Low Countries.