Nemesis was the goddess daughter of Nyx who was, and still popularly is, the personification of retribution for evil. Her name almost certainly comes from nemo, 'to distribute': originally Nemesis was a goddess who dealt or distributed appropriate gifts to her worshippers. Later she became more abstract and her 'dis­tribution' was of anger at anything unjust.

Today, in such phrases as 'overtaken by Nemesis', she appears less specifically as a dealer out of retribution, but more generally as some kind of fate or unpleasant consequence that will come upon one if a condition is not fulfilled or a deadline not met. Her Roman equivalent is Fortuna.