Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma
Old English nacod "nude, bare; empty," also "not fully clothed," from Proto-Germanic *nakwathaz (cf. Old Frisian nakad, Middle Dutch naket, Dutch naakt, Old High German nackot, German nackt, Old Norse nökkviðr, Old Swedish nakuþer, Gothic naqaþs "naked"), from PIE root *nogw- "naked" (cf. Sanskrit nagna, Hittite nekumant-, Old Persian *nagna-, Greek gymnos, Latin nudus, Lithuanian nuogas, Old Church Slavonic nagu-, Russian nagoi, Old Irish nocht, Welsh noeth "bare, naked"). Related: Nakedly; nakedness. Applied to qualities, actions, etc., from late 14c. (first in "The Cloud of Unknowing"); phrase naked truth is from 1585, in Alexander Montgomerie's "The Cherry and the Slae":
Which thou must (though it grieve thee) grantPhrase naked as a jaybird (1943) was earlier naked as a robin (1879, in a Shropshire context); the earliest known comparative based on it was naked as a needle (late 14c.). Naked eye is from 1660s, unnecessary in the world before telescopes and microscopes.
I trumped never a man.
But truely told the naked trueth,
To men that meld with mee,
For neither rigour, nor for rueth,
But onely loath to lie.
This word denotes (1) absolute nakedness (Gen. 2:25; Job 1:21; Eccl. 5:15; Micah 1:8; Amos 2:16); (2) being poorly clad (Isa. 58:7; James 2:15). It denotes also (3) the state of one who has laid aside his loose outer garment (Lat. nudus), and appears clothed only in a long tunic or under robe worn next the skin (1 Sam. 19:24; Isa. 47:3; comp. Mark 14:52; John 21:7). It is used figuratively, meaning "being discovered" or "made manifest" (Job 26:6; Heb. 4:13). In Ex. 32:25 the expression "the people were naked" (A.V.) is more correctly rendered in the Revised Version "the people were broken loose", i.e., had fallen into a state of lawlessness and insubordination. In 2 Chr. 28:19 the words "he made Judah naked" (A.V.), but Revised Version "he had dealt wantonly in Judah," mean "he had permitted Judah to break loose from all the restraints of religion."