[Middle English nigard, perhaps from nig, stingy person, of Scandinavian origin.]
I never thought about it before, but it sounds like this is related to renig
Mmmmmm . . . not directly, but perhaps through the Medieval Latin root renegāre
, to deny.
Online Etymology Dictionary
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.
VERB: Inflected forms: re·neged, re·neg·ing, re·neges
INTRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To fail to carry out a promise or commitment: reneged on the contract at the last minute.
To fail to follow suit in cards when able and required by the rules to do so.
TRANSITIVE VERB: To renounce; disown.
NOUN: The act of reneging.
ETYMOLOGY: Medieval Latin renegāre
, to deny. See renegade
OTHER FORMS: re·neger —NOUN
1548, from M.L. renegare, from L. re-, intensive prefix, + negare "deny" (see deny
Renege itself connotes more of a failure to act or follow through on a promise rather than an active stinginess. The AHD
definition of niggardly:
ADJECTIVE: 1. Grudging and petty in giving or spending. 2. Meanly small; scanty or meager: left the waiter a niggardly tip.
OTHER FORMS: nig'gard·li·ness —NOUN
But, note that the Online Etymology Dictionary
does not trace niggard
back to Latin:
1366, nygart, of uncertain origin. The suffix suggests Fr. origin (cf. dastard
), but the root word is probably related to O.N. hnøggr "stingy," from P.Gmc. *khnauwjaz (cf. Swed. njugg "close, careful," Ger. genau "precise, exact"), and to O.E. hneaw "stingy, niggardly," which did not survive in M.E.
"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee