Definitions

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

  • n. Slang A misaddressed or illegibly addressed piece of mail, therefore undeliverable.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A female water-elf.
  • n. A piece of mail returned as undeliverable.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See nix.
  • n. Nothing.
  • n. A piece of mail matter which cannot be delivered, either because no post office exists at the place to which it is addressed, or because there is no place of the name mentioned in the designated State, Territory, or the like.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Same as nix.
  • n. Same as nix.

Etymologies

From nix2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From German Nixe, feminine of Nix, from Middle High German nickes, from Old High German nihhus ("water-elf, crocodile"). Cognate with Old English nicor ("water-elf, hippopotamus, walrus") (English nicker). (Wiktionary)
nix +‎ -ie (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Another water-spirit not unlike the Lorelei is the nixie, which is both male and female, the male appearing like any human being, but, as in the case of the water-spirits of the Slavonic peoples and England, Scotland, and Central America, being possessed of green teeth.

    Hero Tales and Legends of the Rhine

  • Nixie watch that uses the same kind of nixie tubes that were used in calculators and other 'digital' devices in the late 60's / early 70's.

    Fosfor

  • What kind of educational system can produce people who think that killing a couple hundred of people will make them stop feeling lonely? nixie: can you please send me blueprints for your time machine??

    Word cloud of underwear-bomber's posts at Islamic forum Boing Boing

  • Barry Newman/The Wall Street Journal Debbie Holander and Jonathan Berry, at the Salt Lake Processing Center nixie desk, try to find a way to deliver a 'nixie' -- a letter with an illegible or incorrect address.

    Letters' Last Hope

  • Salt Lake's nixies land on a table where nixie clerks take a last stab at divining where they're supposed to go.

    Poor Penmanship Spells Job Security for Post Office's Scribble Specialists

  • A nixie it's in the dictionary is a letter with an illegible or incorrect address.

    Poor Penmanship Spells Job Security for Post Office's Scribble Specialists

  • Some of the other things that he somehow ended up designing and building include an interactive dining table, a carbon-fiber electric guitar, hard-drive wind chimes, radio-controlled hovercrafts, nixie tube clocks, and magnetohydrodynamic-powered boats.

    MacGyver Of The Day: Mad Scientists Lenore Edman, Windell Oskay | Lifehacker Australia

  • The few of you who have read the magic lesbian plumber story (which has now been at F&SF for over 40 days, which indicates they are at least giving it serious consideration ... either that, or the rejection got lost in the mail) will be amused to know that the problematic basement drain is the same one that, right at the beginning of the story, has a nixie living in it.

    JoCo!

  • Not the only nixie watch out there, but certainly the most watchlike...

    Don't mess with that cow!

  • It may be big, but it's certainly clever: a watch that displays the time on a pair of nixie tubes, with just a flick of a wrist.

    Don't mess with that cow!

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Comments

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  • And would a remedy for the "obnixie" be a "fixnixie?"

    March 21, 2014

  • So, could the "mail" aspect of the definition refer to eMail, too? Or would a better term for that be 'obnixie', which would refer to the obnoxiousness of returned eMail that is totally unusable to resend a message to a corrected address?

    March 21, 2014

  • retrotech has no official entry here but a while back i added some citations that make it sound to me like it'd lend itself pretty well to that idea, qms.

    March 21, 2014

  • I think the most common use of “nixie” is to refer to the neon light-like tubes that were once used to electronically display digital information. In vintage movie thrillers the time bombs that always helpfully kept you apprised of the time left before your doom did their counting down with nixie tubes.

    A mood of nostalgia afflicts me
    For a tube that was cool in the sixties.
    No pallid LCD
    Or soulless LED
    Has the tremulous glow of the nixie.

    Come to think of it, I propose a word for the state of mind in which one fondly recalls technology that was once cool and cutting edge but is now obsolete, like transistor radios and videotape players – nixitube.

    March 21, 2014

  • Also the name of one of the tubes, Jake tells me.

    March 12, 2009

  • also: mail which cannot be delivered because it is illegibly or incorrectly addressed. OED

    March 11, 2009

  • Nixie (aka Näcken / Nøkken) is a mythical, female water creature appearing in Scandinavian and Germanic folk tales. (The male counterpart is the "Nokk")
    _Wikipedia

    January 27, 2008