8 Words That Are Older Than You Think
1821, from Modern Latin Undina (1650s), coined by Paracelsus ("De Nymphis") for a water spirit in his alchemical system, from Latin unda "a wave" (see water). Popularized by German romance "Undine, eine Erzählung" (1811) by Baron F.H.C. La Motte Fouqué. Undinism (1928) was coined by sex researcher Havelock Ellis to describe the fetish for urine (which Ellis had); nowadays it would be called urophilia.
mythological figure of European tradition, a water nymph who becomes human when she falls in love with a man but is doomed to die if he is unfaithful to her. Derived from the Greek figures known as Nereids, attendants of the sea god Poseidon, Ondine was first mentioned in the writings of the Swiss author Paracelsus, who put forth his theory that there are spirits called "undines" who inhabit the element of water. A version of the myth was adapted as the romance Undine by Baron Fouque in 1811, and librettos based on the romance were written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816 and Albert Lortzing in 1845. Maurice Maeterlinck's play Pelleas et Melisande (1892) was in part based on this myth, as was Ondine (1939), a drama by Jean Giraudoux. Compare gnome; sylph. The myth was also the basis of a ballet choreographed and performed by Margot Fonteyn.