Definitions

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

  • adj. Located beneath or below; lower or under: the nether regions of the earth.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Lower; under.
  • adj. Lying beneath, or conceived as lying beneath, the Earth’s surface.
  • adv. Down; downward.
  • adv. Low; low down.
  • v. To bring or thrust down; bring or make low; lower; abase; humble.
  • v. To constrict; straiten; confine; restrict; suppress; lay low; keep under; press in upon; vex; harass; oppress.
  • v. To pinch or stunt with cold or hunger; check in growth; shrivel; straiten.
  • v. To shrink or huddle, as with cold; be shivery; tremble.
  • v. To depreciate; disparage; undervalue.
  • n. Oppression; stress; a withering or stunting influence.
  • n. A trouble; a fault or dislocation in a seam of coal.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Situated down or below; lying beneath, or in the lower part; having a lower position; belonging to the region below; lower; under; -- opposed to upper.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Downward; down.
  • Lower; under: opposed to upper: as, the nether millstone.
  • . Pertaining to the regions here below; earthly.
  • Pertaining to the lower regions or hell; infernal.
  • To bring low; humiliate.
  • n. A variant of nedder, nadder, adder.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. located below or beneath something else
  • adj. lower
  • adj. dwelling beneath the surface of the earth

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English neothera, from neother, down.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English nether, nethere, nithere, from Old English niþera ("lower, under, lowest", adjective), from niþer, niþor ("below, beneath, down, downwards, lower, in an inferior position", adv), from Proto-Germanic *niþer, *niþra (“down”), from Proto-Indo-European *ni-, *nei- (“in, down”); akin to Old Saxon adjective nithiri ("nether"), adverb nithar ("down"), Old High German adjective nidari, nidaro ("nether"), adverb nidar ("down") (see German nieder), Old Dutch nither (see Dutch neder) Old Norse adjective neðri, neðarri ("nether"), adverb niðr ("down"); all from a Germanic word that is a comparative of a word akin to Sanskrit नि (ni, "down") and Albanian nën ("under, in") from *nënd, compound of  ("in") + dhe ("earth"), lit. in, under the earth; akin to Old English in. (Wiktionary)
Alteration of earlier nither, from Middle English nitheren, from Old English niþerian (" to depress, abase, bring low, humiliate, oppress, accuse, condemn"), from Old English niþer ("below, beneath, down, downwards, lower, in an inferior position"). See above. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • So, if you wouldn't mind, please supply a source for that figure, or will ASSume it came from a thin nether region!

    Debate update

  • Old Solomon, in his seedy clothes and long white locks, seemed to be luring that decent company by the magic scream of his fiddle -- luring discreet matrons in turban shaped caps, nay, Mrs. Crackenthorp herself, the summit of whose perpendicular feather was on a level with the Squire's shoulder -- luring fair lasses complacently conscious of very short waists and skirts blameless of front - folds -- luring burly fathers in large variegated waist-coats, and ruddy sons, for the most part shy and sheepish, in short nether garments and very long coat-tails.

    Silas Marner (1885)

  • Solomon, in his seedy clothes and long white locks, seemed to be luring that decent company by the magic scream of his fiddle -- luring discreet matrons in turban-shaped caps, nay, Mrs. Crackenthorp herself, the summit of whose perpendicular feather was on a level with the Squire's shoulder -- luring fair lasses complacently conscious of very short waists and skirts blameless of front-folds -- luring burly fathers in large variegated waistcoats, and ruddy sons, for the most part shy and sheepish, in short nether garments and very long coat-tails.

    Silas Marner

  • Are we going to end up like Japan, in other words, a nether world of "zombie banks" that are not dead but not really alive either, still unable to work their way out from under all that bad debt?

    Reversing the ‘Big Bang’

  • If you've knocked your partner up, it seems to follow that you might be curious about her 'nether' regions during and after the birth of your child.

    Danielle Cavallucci: Taboo? What Taboo!?

  • JANET RENO, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Everyday that goes by in which Elian is not reunited with his father and this matter brought to a conclusion is -- can be disruptive and no child should be in that kind of nether-nether land for that long.

    CNN Transcript - Breaking News: Elian Gonzalez Custody Case: Appeals Court Ruling Imminent - April 19, 2000

  • Neptune (the god of the Sea), and Pluto ( 'nether' or Stygian Jove).

    Milton's Comus

  • In the following paragraphs, I have drawn freely from materials in Sornig's book -- but for my own purposes in this article: the book itself uses the examples to illustrate a variety of sources of slang in accordance with the author's analysis of the "nether" reaches of the language, an analysis I shall only touch on here and there.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol IX No 1

  • (Isaiah 47: 1,2) "facing each other; both have hold of the handle by which the upper is turned round on the 'nether' millstone.

    Smith's Bible Dictionary

  • As a runner, you don't HAVE to wear shorts that barely cover your nether-regions – it's not a requirement.

    Palin slams 'sexist' Newsweek cover

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