I've enjoyed your material on the etymology of the word "nick" meaning:
A) just in time = in the nick of time (from notches nicked into wood or also to denote good timing)
B) in good condition = in good nick (maybe the neck & head of horses, or good inter-breeding of horses or related to the word nickel & attractive silver nickel)
C) stolen = he nicked it (copper-looking "nickel" that doesn't actually contain copper)
D) caught or jailed = he got nicked (caught out at that time, or due to demon connotations (old nick))
- why is "nick" used in the word "nick-name" to mean a shortened or pet name - when as you can see set out very briefly above, "nick" didn't seem to mean "short"? All I can think of is that perhaps because a notch of time is "nicked" into wood, nick might be used to say "little bits" of time, as for time keeping or scoring/counting you would count up all the many notches to make the total, therefore comparatively each "nick" is a smaller part of the whole?
- if "old-Nick" was a reference to the demon or bad sprite, how did it end up being used for Santa Clause ("Saint Nick")?