Noun > Nexus

Noun – Nexus

This word is from a Latin one meaning “to bind or connect,” so it’s closely related to the words “connect” and “annex.”

A nexus is a point where different things come together, as if by crossing. In other words, it’s a link, a connection, or an intersection.

Sometimes, we use “nexus” more loosely to mean “a network, a cluster, or a group of connected things.”

Even more loosely, some writers use “nexus” to mean “the core, the heart, or the very center of something.”

NECK suss

Part of speech:
Noun, the countable kind: “it’s a nexus,” “it’s at the nexus,” “the nexus of science and religion.”

Other forms:
The adjective is “nexal,” pronounced “NECK sull.”

The plural noun is simply “nexuses.” Or, if you don’t mind sounding over-educated, then write the plural the same as the singular (“nexus“) and pronounce it “NECK soose.”

How to use it:
Even though “nexus” is a very old word, straight from Latin and appearing first in English in a 1663 text titled Some Considerations Touching the Vsefvlnesse of Experimental Naturall Philosophy, it still manages to sound stylish and high-tech.

And, it’s common enough that everybody understands it–whether it’s being used to mean “link,” “network,” or “center.”

The most common way we use this word is in a phrase like “the nexus of this and that,” or some similar variation. Let’s see some examples: “the nexus of big money and politics” (The New Yorker), “the nexus of genetics, society and politics” (Nature), “the nexus of celebrity, pop psychology and potential salvation” (Los Angeles Times), “the food-energy-water nexus (Scientific American), “Harlem, the cultural nexus of the novel and the film” (New York Times).

It’s worth noticing that, when we’re talking about crime and justice, the word “nexus” often means “a link that’s been proven to exist between certain people, places, or events.” More specifically, you might hear lawyers talk about a strong nexus, a direct nexus, or even a causal nexus. Or the nexus between drug use and crime, or the nexus between crime and terrorism.

“With four hospitals and a medical school, the area is increasingly a medical nexus for the region.”
— Sara Burnett, Seattle Times, 28 July 2019

“These days, [Michael] Bennett sits at the nexus of several narratives surrounding the N.F.L. What a fan thinks of him probably depends on which of those narratives that fan is inclined to credit.”
— Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, 10 December 2018