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NIGGARDLY

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NIGGARDLY

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:46 pm

• niggardly

Pronunciation: nig-êrd-li • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Miserly, stingy.

Notes: Today's Good Word represents collateral damage from political correctness in the US. Because it sounds so much like the "N-word" used aspersively to refer to African-Americans, it has fallen under the anathema which that word has earned, even though it is completely unrelated. In fact, in a widely publicized case, David Howard of the Washington, DC mayor's staff was forced to resign in 1999 for having told his staff that, due to budget cutbacks, their office would have to manage funds "niggardly". Niggardly is the completely innocent adjective for niggard "miser" in a class with friendly, motherly, lawyerly. It may also be used as an adverb without change.

In Play: Niggarliness can be an attitude: "Nan Tucket is so niggardly that she fills out her wardrobe with clothes she sneaks from the Salvation Army old clothing drop-off box." On the other hand, what people do may be niggardly: "I would like to see the snobocrats in the top office try to get along on the niggardly raises they give us."

Word History: The word nygart, of uncertain origin, was floating around English as early as 1366. By 1559 the word nig "stingy" was firmly established and niggard is that word plus the French suffix -ard, also found in pejorative nouns like drunkard, dastard, laggard. The root word probably came from Old Norse hnøggr "stingy", from Proto-Germanic *khnauwjaz which also gave Swedish njugg "close, careful", and German genau "precise, exact". (We are so happy that Dee Smith has not been niggardly with the interesting words she discovers and shared this one with us.)
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Postby Huny » Thu Jul 20, 2006 12:11 am

Hey, I saw this word used in a crossword puzzle the other day! This is the first time I have seen this word in a long time. I gasped and thought I was going to go feral there for a second. :shock: But as any gently bread lady would do, I cleared my throat, smoothed down my hackles, crained my neck to gaze about the room to be sure that I was, indeed, alone, and calmly went about my business ( which was probably something I shouldn't have been doing to begin with) :roll: I can be so subtle when I want to be...
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Postby sluggo » Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:11 pm

Besides Howard's travails, there was well-publicised recent story where a teacher was disciplined and forced to apologise for teaching her students the word niggardly(!)

No shortage of ignorance in our fair land, and it just reiterates the importance of sites like this one.
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Postby skinem » Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:26 pm

Where are we going and why am I in this handcart?
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Postby Bailey » Thu Jul 20, 2006 2:28 pm

taken from "teacher reprimand"
"... Tannis Nelson, president of the N.C. Parent-Teacher Association and a New Hanover County resident, ... added that this incident shows the need for effective diversity and sensitivity training throughout the school system. "Incidents such as this can polarize the community," Mrs. Nelson said. "We can't allow that to happen. This can be captured as a teachable moment, and we can learn from it."

but what are they teaching? What are we to take from this? and the kids? teach lies; if they look cool they are right?

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Postby Huny » Thu Jul 20, 2006 3:59 pm

sluggo wrote:Besides Howard's travails, there was well-publicised recent story where a teacher was disciplined and forced to apologise for teaching her students the word niggardly(!)

No shortage of ignorance in our fair land, and it just reiterates the importance of sites like this one.


My hackles got up again just reading your links! It's amazing how we, as Americans, are paranoid to use our own language even after the word was clearly explained by definition to have an origin different from that of the offending word in question. So, I guess one would have to start breaking out the thesaurus on the fly during staff meetings or speeches or even announcing cut backs just to be sure no one gets offended and tries to get someone fired for their "misuse" of words. Of course, these days, even the word Neanderthal offends people. :roll:
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Postby Bailey » Thu Jul 20, 2006 5:31 pm

Ignorance is abysmal and invincible and rampant! And in power sigh.

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Postby skinem » Thu Jul 20, 2006 6:16 pm

Political correctness run amok...

PC=groupthink filter on reality...

As a former educational administrator, (emphasis upon "former") I really began to despair of my field as my career ran on. There are so many factors that made it increasingly difficult to be an effective admin, but decisions by courts, state depts of ed, and frankly, some really boneheaded decisions by other admins and boards made it even more so. It got to the point toward the end of my career that I began to feel decisions were being made based upon what the legal ramifications would be, how the teacher union would react rather than what should have been the chief basis of the decision...what was best for the children.
Not that I became cynical or anything.
Whoa...sorry about that. I was having flashbacks...
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Postby Bailey » Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:03 pm

Huny wrote: So, I guess one would have to start breaking out the thesaurus on the fly during staff meetings or speeches or even announcing cut backs just to be sure no one gets offended and tries to get someone fired for their "misuse" of words. Of course, these days, even the word Neanderthal offends people. :roll:

This reminds me of the absolutely awful, in a long line of offal... commercials for Geico, the caveman references and the two fey cavemen discussing how offended they are over Geico saying, "It's so easy a caveman could do it."

PW, you better tell me you had Nothing to do with the terrible geico commercials!

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Postby gailr » Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:30 pm

I know better than to use this word unless I'm around close, educated friends (and all y'all here, of course)...

But then, I was taken to a conference room and reprimanded for using the word commensurate. I was led to believe that the incident would go into my PERMANENT RECORD.

I told my boss later that a friend had recommended a way for me to overcome this kind of problem: go ahead and use your normal vocabulary; just drop one syllable off each word. They won't know the difference there.

-gailr :D :shock: :D
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Postby Palewriter » Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:45 pm

Bailey wrote:
Huny wrote:

PW, you better tell me you had Nothing to do with the terrible geico commercials!

mark


Nothing. I much prefer the FedEx caveman commercial from the latest Superbowl. Didn't do that one either, though (sigh).

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Postby Bailey » Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:52 pm

Oh yes, I remember that one, It was very funny, nothing like having a really bad day!
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Postby Stargzer » Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:37 pm

Huny wrote: .. . .

Of course, these days, even the word Neanderthal offends people. :roll:


Well, the way it's often used it would offend a Neanderthal, if any still survived . . . :)


Then again, a Labrador Retriever dog show is the only place you can hear "Now judging three-year-old black bitches in ring 2" over the loudspeaker, and no-one but a newcomer (as I was) will bat an eyelash . . .

Sometimes a word is just a word . . .
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Postby Stargzer » Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:43 pm

gailr wrote: . . .
But then, I was taken to a conference room and reprimanded for using the word commensurate. I was led to believe that the incident would go into my PERMANENT RECORD.
. . .

-gailr :D :shock: :D


In the words of the AFLAC duck in the Yogi Berra commercial:


"HUH?"
Regards//Larry

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Postby sluggo » Fri Jul 21, 2006 12:45 am

Palewriter wrote:
Bailey wrote:
Huny wrote:

PW, you better tell me you had Nothing to do with the terrible geico commercials!

mark


Nothing. I much prefer the FedEx caveman commercial from the latest Superbowl. Didn't do that one either, though (sigh).

- PW


I've seen that (Geico) commercial about umpteen times now and have yet to understand the joke. One's hungry, one isn't -so what? But since this is a language board, wassup with that stupid accent? If a gekko could actually talk, somehow Cockney is not among the first 400 styles I'd expect. How many gekkos are crawling around East London?

Yah, Geiko's agency is rather niggardly with their creativity. The FedEx one was much better, insofar as one can say that of a commercial.
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