before 900;Middle Englishnimen,Old Englishniman, cognate with Germannehmen,Old Norsenema,Gothicniman to take; cf. numb
a game in which two players alternate in drawing counters, pennies, or the like, from a set of 12 arranged in three rows of 3, 4, and 5 counters, respectively, the object being to draw the last counter, or, sometimes, to avoid drawing it.
a game in which two players alternately remove one or more small items, such as matchsticks, from one of several rows or piles, the object being to take (or avoid taking) the last item remaining on the table
C20: perhaps from archaic nim to take, from Old English niman