Nigel // is an English male given name. The name is derived from the Latin Nigellus. This Latin word would seem to derive from the Latin niger, meaning “black”; however this is thought to be an example of an incorrect etymology created by French-speaking clerics, who knew Latin as well, to translate the Norman first name Neel in the Latin written documents. Indeed, the Latin word nigellus gave birth to Old French neel (modern nielle), meaning “niello, black enamel” and it explains the confusion, because the clerics believed it was the same etymology as the first name Neel, spelled the same way.
Nigel has never been as common in other countries, but was among the 1,000 most common names for boys born in the United States from 1971 to 2010. Numbers peaked in 1994 when 447 were recorded (it being the 478th most common boys’ name that year). The peak popularity at 0.02% of boys’ names in 1994 compares to a peak popularity in England and Wales of about 1.2% in 1963, 60 times higher.
This next paragraph explains a lot…..
|Look up Nigel no friends in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
In Australian English it is a colloquial term for a male social misfit or a friendless person, originating from the name being unusual in the 1980s and alliterating with “no-friends” (both start with n).