Word Origin & History
"water fairy," 1816 (introduced by Sir Walter Scott), from Ger. Nixie, from O.H.G. nihhussa "water sprite," fem. of nihhus, from P.Gmc. *nikwiz- (cf. O.N. nykr, O.E. nicor "water spirit, water monster," also used to gloss hippopotamus; Grendel's mother in "Beowulf" was a nicor), perhaps from PIE *nigw-
(cf. Skt. nenkti "washes," Gk. nizo "I wash," O.Ir. nigid "washes").