EggnogThe nog of eggnog is an old 17th century word for strong beer, and in particular an ale or beer once brewed in Norfolk in the east of England. Its name comes from an Arabic word meaning “bitter.”6. It ultimately derives from some ancient Germanic word root meaning something like “give” or “bestow”—which is also the origin of the not-so-festive German word gift, meaning “poison.”7. MistletoeThe –toe of mistletoe is an Old English word for “twig,” but the mistle– part is much more puzzling. The rein– of reindeer, incidentally, is an old Germanic word meaning “horn.”10.