We remember when the second apparition spoke to Macbeth:
Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn
The power of man; for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.
We also remember yesterday’s post about how nada developed from the Latin construction non … res nata ‘not a born thing,’ so it’s hardly surprising that Latin had the similar phrase homines nati ‘people [who have been] born.’ Macbeth’s eventual nemesis aside, that’s ‘everyone,’ and when the Latin phrase occurred in negative constructions it took on the opposite sense of ‘no one.’ Eventually homines dropped out and nati came to stand for the whole negative expression. It evolved in Old Spanish to nadi and a couple of variants before modern Spanish settled on nadie ‘no one.’
©2010 Steven Schwartzman