‘‘Nick’’ (or ‘‘Old Nick’’)
A well-known British nickname for the devil, comparable
with the American ‘‘Mr. Splitfoot’’ or ‘‘Old Scratch.’’ It seems
probable that this name is derived from the Dutch nikken, the
devil, which again comes from the Anglo-Saxon noec-an, to slay,
deriving from the theological view that the devil was ‘‘a murderer
from the beginning.’’
In northern countries there is a river spirit named ‘‘Neck,’’
‘‘Nikke,’’ or ‘‘Nokke,’’ of the same nature as the water kelpie
and the merman or triton.