From a medieval form of the Latin name Aemilia, the feminine version of the old Roman family name Aemilius (probably from aemulus ‘rival’). It was not common in the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 19th century and is extremely popular throughout the English-speaking world today. Its best-known 19th‐century bearer was probably the novelist and poet Emily Brontë (1818–48).
German: 1. habitational name for someone from Nippe in Hesse. 2. nickname for an alert, astute person, from Middle Low German nip ‘exact’, ‘sharp‘’ (of sight and hearing)’, the -er reflecting the full (masculine) ending.