This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Sunday Rest: niggard. Word Not To Use Today.

A niggard is someone who's mean with money, or reluctant to share his possessions.

Sometimes people mistake the word niggard for a similar word that's a rude way of describing someone black (though, actually, niggard isn't anything to do with blackness. Nothing at all).

Having said that, using the word niggard has caused a lot of outrage, offence, resignations, passion, and sackings over the years, so there's no doubt that it's safer not to use it. 

Yes, I know that it's not a good thing to give in to the forces of fear and ignorance, but then there's another reason for leaving the horrible word shut up within the pages of the dictionary, which is that niggard is really ugly: two blunt little syllables knocking hard against each other like the buffers on a badly-driven train.

I mean, we have some of the glorious alternatives: skinflint, money-grubber, Scrooge...


...words you can say with real relish.

And you wouldn't want to turn your back on a dollop of relish, would you.

Sunday Rest: niggard. This word is probably related to the Swedish nygg and the Old English hnēaw, which means stingy.

No comments:

Post a Comment