Definition of nelly in English:

nelly

Line breaks: nelly
Pronunciation: /ˈnɛli
 
/

noun (plural nellies)

informal
1A silly person.
More example sentences
  • The inability of these nervous nellies to hold their peace for a couple of months and save their moaning for the appropriate ALP forum is seriously hampering the ALP's chances of victory on November 10.
  • Is it any wonder that he gets impatient with the nervous nellies from the old nations who think they have a bit more experience with wars designed to bring peace to the world, and are reluctant to jump into yet another one.
  • We're raising a generation of nervous nellies.
2 derogatory An effeminate homosexual man.
More example sentences
  • Straight Eye for the Queer Guy - five ‘real men’ teach a nelly how to play Sports.
  • Are we all supposed to be limp-wristed nellies?

Origin

1930s: from the given name Nelly.

Phrases

not on your nelly

British Certainly not: Charlie shook his head vigorously. ‘Not on your nelly, mate.’
[originally as not on your Nelly Duff, rhyming slang for 'puff' (i.e. breath of life); modelled on the phrase not on your life]
More example sentences
  • Frankie Howerd was the man with the catchphrases ‘titter ye not’, ‘shut yer face’ and ‘not on your nelly’.
  • Surely this would make her a heroine, a whistle-blower, someone who was being bullied and discriminated against, an all-round good girl with priceless victim credentials - but no, not on your nelly.
  • Generating incremental sales commissions through a low-cost distribution channel like the website its passengers use - not on your nelly!

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