• From Middle English nasty, nasti, naxty, naxte, probably from Old Norse *nask- -y, whence also Early Modern English nasky. Compare Swedish naskig, naskug, Swedish and Danish nasket. Compare also Low German nask.
  • Alternative theories include:
  • From Old French nastre, shortened form of villenastre, from vilein + -astre, from Latin -aster.
  • , perhaps ultimately connected to the Scandinavian word above.
  • Other suggestions include Old High German naz, hardening of English nesh, or alteration of English naughty.
  • Modern use of the word is sometimes attributed to the popular and often derogatory 19th century American political cartoons of Thomas Nast, but the word predates him.

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