from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for an effeminate homosexual man.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An effeminate homosexual man.
  • n. A silly person.
  • n. A common name for the giant petrels, Macronectes giganteus and Macronectes halli
  • adj. Unmanly, effeminate.
  • n. Life.


Probably from Nelly, nickname for Helen.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Shortened from Nelly Duff, for puff, i.e. breath of life (Wiktionary)
From the woman's name, Nelly (Wiktionary)


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  • There's an Australian expression'not on your nelly' (or nellie) meaning 'no way, absolutely no'.

    September 9, 2013