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nigger

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English

Etymology

Ultimately from the [[w:Template:lang:la language|Template:lang:la]][[Category:Template:lang:la derivations]] 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

Singular
nigger

Plural
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nigger ({{{1}}})
  1. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) A dark-skinned person, especially a person of, or primarily of, Negro descent.
    • Huckleberry Finn, in the eponymous novel by Mark Twain.
      It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger; but I done it[sic], and I warn't[sic] ever sorry for it afterwards, neither. I didn't do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn't done that[sic] one if I'd a knowed[sic] it would make him feel that way.
    • 1888, Rudyard Kipling, ‘On the City Wall’, In Black and White, Folio Society 2005, p. 435:
      The Captain was not a nice man. He called all natives ‘niggers’, which, besides being extreme bad form, shows gross ignorance.
  2. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) A person of Negro descent who acts in an unapproved manner, usually as a badass.
    I love black people, but I hate niggers.
  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. A stupid and ignorant person.

Usage notes

  • The term "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.
  • Usage of this word to refer to blacks or people of African descent is usually considered pejorative (most often extremely, highly, or strongly so). The word is, however, used by some black people as a neutral or even affirmative term, especially when used in the form of "nigga". Usage by non-blacks, however, nigger is almost invariably considered offensive.
  • In its pejorative sense, it arguably ranks as the most insulting racial epithet 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.

Translations

Related terms

See also


Norwegian

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Etymology

From English nigger

Noun

nigger m.

  1. (offensive) nigger

Synonyms

Inflection


See also

Elsewhere on the web

En-En

En-It

En-Fr

En-El

En-Sp

En-Mul

En-De

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