Niggardly

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Dr. Goodword
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Niggardly

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:41 pm

• niggardly •


Pronunciation: nig-êrd-li • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Miserly, stingy, chintzy.

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: Niggardliness 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, and laggard. The root word probably came from Old Norse hnøggr "stingy", from Proto-Germanic *khnauwjaz which also gave Swedish njugg "frugal, stingy", 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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tapoensgen
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niggard

Postby tapoensgen » Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:46 pm

Addition to Word History:
Proto-Germanic *khnauwjaz developed into knausrig (miserly) and Knauser (a miserly person)

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Postby misterdoe » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:13 pm

Collateral damage indeed. I've seen people take issue with this being used in print, obviously unaware of what the word really means. I don't know if I ever mentioned my own family roots, but suffice it to say I suspect my dad is aware of this word, at the very least... :?

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bamaboy56
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Postby bamaboy56 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 12:25 am

This is a word that cannot be used without some sort of "collateral damage" here in the Deep South. Sad, but true. Too many people who don't know the true meaning of the word. They only go with how it sounds.
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I'm going to change myself. -- Rumi

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LukeJavan8
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:54 am

I live in the upper plains, and that is just as true here.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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bamaboy56
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Postby bamaboy56 » Sat Aug 13, 2011 3:55 pm

Sad :cry: and aggravating at the same time. Old habits die hard.
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I'm going to change myself. -- Rumi

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LukeJavan8
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Aug 13, 2011 10:06 pm

Especially when there are so many who try to keep them
alive. If not one race then another.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

Philip Hudson
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Re: NIGGARDLY

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Jun 17, 2021 4:54 pm

This word was brought up recently on the agora. I have never used this word, having never heard it before. Through no fault of the word itself, one can see that it is out of place by association in our vocabulary. Let us choose to not use it as discretion is the better part of valor
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.

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LukeJavan8
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Re: NIGGARDLY

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Jun 17, 2021 5:02 pm

I could not agree more. Language is forever changing, and
it can lose this word without any remorse.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Re: NIGGARDLY

Postby bbeeton » Thu Jun 17, 2021 6:04 pm

Unintended collateral damage would keep me from using this word, but I can't think of any suitable substitute. When I was growing up, this was used in situations where an action was more miserly than "miserly", an action of a totally unrepentant, pre-enlightened Scrooge.

I hope I never need it, but if I do, what can anyone suggest?

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Re: NIGGARDLY

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:24 pm

When I was a child, children called others chinchy. Spell check wants me to spell it cinchy but that means something that is easy to do. Stingy seems to be okay. Parsimonious would do though I never use it.
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Slava
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Re: Niggardly

Postby Slava » Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:21 pm

Perhaps chintzy would serve?

Or: "Thou art a closefisted, illiberal, mean, mingy, miserly, narrow, parsimonious, penny-pinching, penurious, skimpy, skinflint, tight, tight-fisted, ungenerous, tight-wad."
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.


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