nigger

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English

Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

Etymology

Ultimately from the Latin adjective niger, meaning "black". Several Romance languages (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc) have the word "negro" meaning "black" (in colour) derived from the Latin "niger", while French has noir, its nègre being borrowed from Spanish. During the period in America's history when black workers were shipped to America to work as slaves, this word came to be adopted from the Hispanic South American languages to describe a person of dark skin. Essentially, a "negro" person simply means a "black" person. Through constant repetition of the Spanish word in the American accent, it seems likely that the word was corrupted from "negro" to "niggero" to simply "nigger".

Pronunciation

Noun

nigger (plural niggers)

  1. (offensive, ethnic slur, now vulgar, see usage notes) A dark-skinned person, especially a person of, or primarily of, Negro descent; a black person.
    • 1884, Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, ch. XV
      It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger; but I done it, and I warn't ever sorry for it afterwards, neither.
    • 1929, Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms[1], New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, page 274:
      “Othello with his occupation gone,” she teased. “Othello was a nigger,” I said.
    • 2004, Nick Nolte as Colonel Oliver, Hotel Rwanda:
      You are not even a nigger, you are an African.
  2. (offensive, ethnic slur, vulgar slang) A person of Negro descent who acts in an unapproved manner, usually as an archetypical badass.
    • 1996, Chris Rock, Chris Rock: Bring the Pain[2]:
      There's black people, and there's niggers. And niggers have got to go. Every time black people wanna have a good time, ign'ant-ass niggers fuck it up.
    • 2008, Greydon Square, “The N Word” (song), in The CPT Theorem (album): 
      See, niggers are followers, blacks normally lead. / Niggers call blacks "whitewash" soon as they on the scene.
    • 2010 April 13, Kitty Kelley quoting an unnamed town resident, Oprah: A Biography, New York: Crown, ISBN 9780307394866, OL 24087304M, page 193:
      Blacks stayed at home during the civil rights march. Niggers are the ones that marched.
  3. (African American Vernacular) Informal term of address.
    • 2002, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, "Loaded Language", a review of Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word by Randall Kennedy, Washington Post, Sunday, January 13, 2002; Page BW06,
      I had overheard him greet a buddy who called him on the phone with "Yo, nigger, what's up?"
  4. (now offensive) A fish, the luderick.

Usage notes

Today the word "nigger" is potentially extremely offensive and, particularly in the United States, politically inflammatory. Although it has to some extent been reclaimed by some persons of African descent, its use remains controversial, particularly when used by non-blacks.

"Nigger" has taken on pejorative qualities, as it implies not only darkness of skin, but a general lack of intelligence and sophistication. At the time of the word's origin, various English-speaking North American settlers who set cultural standards considered black people fundamentally inferior and less civilized than white people. The term is generally considered offensive to black people, not only because it singles them out on the basis of their skin colour, but also because, due to its origin, it carries connotations of slavery, inferiority and oppression.

The term is generally derogatory (racist) when used by persons not of African descent (and sometimes when used by persons of African descent), but, it is also used by some black people among themselves, positively, especially when used in the form of "nigga," in a form of reclamation. It is important to note that many people do not believe that "nigger" is able to be reclaimed, because of its fraught history and continued pejorative usage. Usage by non-blacks, however, is almost invariably considered offensive.

In its pejorative sense, it ranks among the most insulting racial epithets in the English language, with strong connotations of cultural and intellectual inferiority or deficiency. The controversial nature of the word makes it unacceptable for use in most modern mainstream American media. The word is usually censored in direct quotations or euphemistically referred to as the "n-word" to blunt its potential negative impact.

Synonyms

Derived terms

Translations

Related terms

Verb

nigger (third-person singular simple present niggers, present participle niggering, simple past and past participle niggered)

  1. (transitive, dated) To clear land by laying light pieces of round timber across the trunks of the trees and setting fire to them at the point of contact, by which means the trees are slowly burned through.
    • 1844, J. W. Dunbar Moodie, The Ould Dhragoon; or, a visit to the beaver meadow Literary garland, Lovell & Gibson, volume 2, page 360:
      [] he resorted to the practice of “niggering,” as it is called: which is simply laying light pieces of round timber across the trunks of the trees and setting fire to them at the point of contact; by which means the trees are slowly burned through.
    • 1914, Indiana State Teachers Association. History Section, Readings in Indiana history, Indiana University, page 171:
      The operation was this: they placed smaller logs and dry rubbish across the log and applied fire to them; this was called “niggering”.
    • 1956, Joseph Kirkland, Zury: the meanest man in Spring County: a novel of western life, University of Illinois Press, pages xii and 40:
      Zury constructs a crude fence by niggering off the trees and dragging them into position.
      []
      All day long his axe rang through the frosty air as he felled saplings for the fence and stripped them from fuel for the “niggering” fires.
    • 1980, Elaine Hedges, William Hedges, Land and imagination: the rural dream in America, Hayden Book Co., page 69:
      This means subduing and taming the forest itself—the central drama of The Fields—performing the hard labor of hacking the trees and “niggering” and burning the butts in order to get to the rich black soil underneath.
  2. (intransitive, offensive) To behave as a stereotypical black person.
    • 1989, Reynolds Price, The surface of earth, Ballantine Books, page 120:
      His father said, “Niggering, I was niggering about. You knew that surely.”
    • 2007, George Hovis, Vale of Humility: Plain Folk in Contemporary North Carolina Fiction, Univ of South Carolina Press, page 86:
      Forrest’s rediscovery of his father coincides with his discovery that old Robinson’s “niggering around” produced at least one child of mixed race.
    • 2008, Joe Ambrose, Gimme Danger: The Story Of Iggy Pop, Music Sales Group:
      I mean he was niggering. Niggering out, grabbing at my leg and microphone cord. I said, ‘Stop that you damn nigger!’ and that takes guts!
  3. (uncommon, transitive, offensive) To treat as inferior.
    • 1997, Joe Frisch, Anglo-US relations under a Blair Government, uk.org.mensa, January 18
      The gated community is a powerful tool in the systematic and sustained niggering of local 3rd-world communities - namely, in the book, the Hispanic (mostly wetbacK[sic]) community
    • 1999, Jeff Welch, Who is McGuyver and why was he "niggered?", seattle,general, December 3
      > He is on TV saying that he was "abused" by the police and treated like a nigger.
    • 2003, Mob Attacks Palestinian Pollsters Who Told The Truth, soc.retirement, July 16
      Why would many Paletinians want to return to a land where they would be "niggered" for the benefit of the Israelis as the present Palestinian population is

Anagrams


Danish

Danish Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia da

Etymology

From English nigger.

Noun

nigger c (singular definite niggeren, plural indefinite niggere)

  1. (vulgar, offensive, rare) nigger; A dark-skinned person, especially a person of, or primarily of, Negro descent.

Synonyms


Norwegian

Norwegian Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia no

Etymology

From English nigger

Noun

nigger m

  1. (vulgar, offensive) nigger

Synonyms

Inflection


Swedish

Swedish Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia sv

Etymology

Attested since 1888 according to Svenska Akademiens ordbok. From English nigger.

Pronunciation

Noun

nigger c

  1. (vulgar, offensive, dated) nigger, variant of neger.

Declension

Synonyms