From Middle Low German nēgelke(n), cognate of German Nägelchen (“little nail”). Low German-looking forms are already found in Middle High German negelkīn alongside negelīn; the contraction is first attested in Central German Nelekin. The feminine form in -e is a backformation from the plural. The name is due to the typical form of cloves; compare Latin clāvulus (“clove”), from clāvus (“nail”), of which the German form may be a loan translation.
Nelke f (genitive Nelke, plural Nelken)
- Nelke in Duden online