One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A silly person.
- ‘Along the way he reformed administrative law, updated the evidence laws and introduced youth conferencing; he also gave gay law reform and defamation law a red hot shot, before being scotched by the nervous nellies in Cabinet Office.’
- ‘I'm a big old nelly who hates flying and am likely to be sweating like a fat girl on a hot day.’
- ‘Our frontier was not settled by nervous nellies with degrees in Peace Studies.’
- ‘Were the nervous nellies and the backside coverers more persuasive?’
- ‘It just so happens there are enough nervous nellies in the Labor and National Parties to ensure that such a proposal would not get up.’
- ‘The inability of these nervous nellies to hold their peace for a couple of months and save their moaning for the appropriate ALP forum is seriously hampering the ALP's chances of victory on November 10.’
- ‘Coincidentally, none of them has ever been among the nervous nellies who pale at the thought of being alone with yours truly.’
- ‘That's code to nervous Coalition nellies, is it not, to hold their nerve?’
- ‘Is it any wonder that he gets impatient with the nervous nellies from the old nations who think they have a bit more experience with wars designed to bring peace to the world, and are reluctant to jump into yet another one.’
- ‘Do we have a crew of nervous nellies running the country?’
- ‘Wait till you had the bandage ready, and the whole reform opportunity would be suffocated by nervous nellies.’
- ‘We're raising a generation of nervous nellies.’
2offensive An effeminate homosexual man.
not on your nelly
informal Certainly not.‘Charlie shook his head vigorously. ‘Not on your nelly, mate.’’
- ‘Surely this would make her a heroine, a whistle-blower, someone who was being bullied and discriminated against, an all-round good girl with priceless victim credentials - but no, not on your nelly.’
- ‘Generating incremental sales commissions through a low-cost distribution channel like the website its passengers use - not on your nelly!’
- ‘Frankie Howerd was the man with the catchphrases ‘titter ye not’, ‘shut yer face’ and ‘not on your nelly’.’
- ‘None of them are prepared to stand up and defend her - not on your nelly!’
- ‘Not on your nelly, says SCO - and is there anyone left on the planet who isn't aware of SCO's litigation against Linux and open source?’
- ‘Not on your nelly, though unlike thousands of volunteers, he was actually paid a fee, albeit a flat, modest one - which he preferred to keep to himself.’
1930s: from the given name Nelly.
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