• Niggard


    Alternative forms

    • nigger only in sense: "false bottom in a grate"


    From Middle English nigard, nygard ("miser"), equivalent to nig + -ard.

    Full definition of niggard



    1. Sparing; stinting; parsimonious.
    2. Miserly or stingy.
      • 1852, William Chambers (publisher) and , Chambers' Edinburgh Journal:His heart swelled within him, as he sat at the head of his own table, on the occasion of the house-warming, dispensing with no niggard hand the gratuitous viands and unlimited beer, which were at once to symbolise and inaugurate the hospitality of his mansion.



    (plural niggards)
    1. A miser or stingy person; a skinflint.
      • 1618, John Taylor (poet), The Pennyles Pilgrimage OR The Money-lesse Perambulation of John Taylor:All his pleasures were social; and while health and fortune smiled upon him, he was no niggard either of his time or talents to those who needed them.
      • 1955, J. R. R. Tolkien, The Return of the King, Book VI, Chapter 6 "Many Partings":‘No niggard are you, Éomer,’ said Aragorn, ‘to give thus to Gondor the fairest thing in your realm!’
    2. A false bottom in a grate, used for saving fuel.
      • Edward Bulwer Lytton, GodolphinIt was evening: he ordered a fire and lights; and, leaning his face on his hand as he contemplated the fitful and dusky upbreakings of the flame through the bars of the niggard and contracted grate...
      • From a catalog of the Great Exhibition of 1851:Cooking apparatus, adapted for an opening eight feet wide, by five feet high, and containing an open-fire roasting range, with sliding spit-racks and winding cheek or niggard;
      • Thomas Carlyle: Letters to His Wife

    Usage notes

    This word is unrelated to the racial epithet nigger (a corruption of the Spanish word negro ("black")), but some in the United States have taken offense at the word's use due to the phonetic similarity between the words.



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