What is the X in X-mas?
"negative reply," early 13c., from Old English na (adv.) "no, never, not at all," from ne "not, no" + a "ever." First element from Proto-Germanic *ne (cf. Old Norse, Old Frisian, Old High German ne, Gothic ni "not"), from PIE root *ne "no, not" (see un-). Second element from PIE *aiw- "vital force, life, long life, eternity" (see aye (2)).
As an adjective meaning "not any" (c.1200) it is reduced from Old English nan (see none), the final -n omitted first before consonants and then altogether. As a noun from c.1300. Phrase no can do "it is not possible" is attested from 1827, a locution of English-speaking Chinese noted 19c. in China, Australia and West Coast of U.S.
We repeated our advice again and again, but got no answer but a loud horse-laugh, and their national maxim of No can do: Europe fashion no do in China. ["Reminiscences of a Voyage to and from China," in "Paxton's Horticultural Register," London, 1836]Construction no X, no Y attested from 1530s (in no peny no pardon). No problem as an interjection of assurance first attested 1963. No way as an expression meaning "it can't be done" is attested by 1968.
The symbol for the element nobelium.
The symbol for nobelium.
or No-A'mon, the home of Amon, the name of Thebes, the ancient capital of what is called the Middle Empire, in Upper or Southern Egypt. "The multitude of No" (Jer. 46:25) is more correctly rendered, as in the Revised Version, "Amon of No", i.e., No, where Jupiter Amon had his temple. In Ezek. 30:14, 16 it is simply called "No;" but in ver. 15 the name has the Hebrew Hamon prefixed to it, "Hamon No." This prefix is probably the name simply of the god usually styled Amon or Ammon. In Nah. 3:8 the "populous No" of the Authorized Version is in the Revised Version correctly rendered "No-Amon." It was the Diospolis or Thebes of the Greeks, celebrated for its hundred gates and its vast population. It stood on both sides of the Nile, and is by some supposed to have included Karnak and Luxor. In grandeur and extent it can only be compared to Nineveh. It is mentioned only in the prophecies referred to, which point to its total destruction. It was first taken by the Assyrians in the time of Sargon (Isa. 20). It was afterwards "delivered into the hand" of Nebuchadnezzar and Assurbani-pal (Jer. 46:25, 26). Cambyses, king of the Persians (B.C. 525), further laid it waste by fire. Its ruin was completed (B.C. 81) by Ptolemy Lathyrus. The ruins of this city are still among the most notable in the valley of the Nile. They have formed a great storehouse of interesting historic remains for more than two thousand years. "As I wandered day after day with ever-growing amazement amongst these relics of ancient magnificence, I felt that if all the ruins in Europe, classical, Celtic, and medieval, were brought together into one centre, they would fall far short both in extent and grandeur of those of this single Egyptian city." Manning, The Land of the Pharaohs.
synthetic chemical element of the actinoid series of the periodic table, atomic number 102. Not occurring in nature, nobelium (as the isotope nobelium-254) was discovered (April 1958) by Albert Ghiorso, T. Sikkeland, J.R. Walton, and Glenn T. Seaborg at the University of California, Berkeley, as a product of the bombardment of curium (atomic number 96) with carbon ions (atomic number 6) accelerated in a heavy-ion linear accelerator. An international team of scientists working at the Nobel Institute of Physics in Stockholm had claimed less than a year before that they had synthesized the same element, which they named nobelium (for Alfred Nobel); but experiments performed in the Soviet Union (at the I.V. Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy, Moscow, and at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna) and in the United States (University of California, Berkeley) failed to confirm the discovery. The Berkeley and Dubna teams have subsequently produced more than a half dozen isotopes of nobelium; nobelium-255 (three-minute half-life) is the stablest. Using traces of this isotope, radiochemists have shown nobelium to exist in aqueous solution in both the +2 and +3 oxidation states. The +2 state is very stable, an effect more pronounced than was anticipated in comparison with the homologous lanthanoid element ytterbium (atomic number 70)