One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A female spirit or nymph imagined as inhabiting water.
- ‘Rilleta thought she saw the undine leaping among the water drops, her face alive as a fox's with mischief.’
- ‘You can be anything that you wish, such as an undine or elf.’
- ‘You might see gnomes; they're certainly there, along with undines.’
- ‘Ternora thought briefly that she looked like an undine, but no undine would have looked so disapproving.’
- ‘The elements were inhabited by spirits - the air by sylphs, the water by nymphs or undines, the earth by gnomes, the fire by salamanders.’
Early 19th century: from modern Latin undina (a word invented by Paracelsus), from Latin unda ‘a wave’.
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