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Wednesday, September 04, 2002
In this post, I asserted that the word "niggardly" had absolutly no connotations associated with race, and that the word had been in the English language for centuries. Yup, I was right (pats self on back). From Take Our Word For It:

Niggardly, of course, means "miserly" or "stingy". The first written record we have of its use is from 1530 but the noun niggard, "miser", has been around much longer, having been used by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1374. Middle English also used nig for a miser or stingy person. All these words have their venerable, if unpronounceable, origin in the Old Norse hnøggr, "stingy", "niggardly" although there was a related Old English word hneaw, "stingy".

Etymologically nigger is a doublet with negro as they both ultimately derive from niger, the Latin word for "black". Note that it does not necessarily mean "a black person", just "black" the color. On the other hand, Africa's Niger river and the country of Nigeria were given those names because of the color of the people there. Nigger entered Middle English as neger, a form of the Old French negre, itself borrowed from the Spanish negro, "black". Never in its history has it ever been connected with the word niggardly. Well, not until now, that is.

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