Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



niggard +‎ -ly



niggardly (comparative more niggardly, superlative most niggardly)

  1. Withholding for the sake of meanness; stingy, miserly.
    Synonyms: miserly, stingy; see also Thesaurus:stingy
    • 1609, Joseph Hall, (paraphrasing Ambrose? in) "No Peace with Rome", in Josiah Pratt (editor), The Works of the Right Reverend Father in God, Joseph Hall, D. D., Vol. IX. Polemical Works, London, (1808), page 57:
      [W]here the owner of the house will be bountiful, it is not for the steward to be niggardly.
    • 1919, W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, chapter 47
      They were not niggardly, these tramps, and he who had money did not hesitate to share it among the rest.
    • 1958, John Kenneth Galbraith, The Affluent Society (1998 edition), →ISBN, p. 186:
      This manifests itself in an implacable tendency to provide an opulent supply of some things and a niggardly yield of others.

Usage notes[edit]

  • This term may cause offence, especially in the US, as it is easily confused with niggerly, an adverbial form of the racial slur nigger.[1] The two words are etymologically unrelated. To avoid offense, one may wish to replace niggardly with a synonym instead.



niggardly (comparative more niggardly, superlative most niggardly)

  1. (now rare) In a parsimonious way; sparingly, stingily.
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970:
      , New York 2001, p.105:
      because many families are compelled to live niggardly, exhaust and undone by great dowers, none shall be given at all, or very little […].


Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Racist Language, Real and Imagined, Steven Pinker. February 2, 1999. The New York Times (editorial).