[ney-groh; Spanish ne-graw; Portuguese ne-groo] /ˈneɪ groʊ; Spanish ˈnɛ grɔ; Portuguese ˈnɛ grʊ/

a river in NW South America, flowing SE from E Colombia through N Brazil into the Amazon. 1400 miles (2255 km) long.
a river in S Argentina, flowing E from the Andes to the Atlantic. 700 miles (1125 km) long.
a river in SE South America, flowing S from Brazil and W through Uruguay, to the Uruguay River. About 500 miles (800 km) long.
noun (pl) -groes
a member of any of the dark-skinned indigenous peoples of Africa and their descendants elsewhere
relating to or characteristic of Negroes
/ˈneɪɡrəʊ; ˈnɛɡ-/
noun Río Negro
a river in NW South America, rising in E Colombia (as the Guainía) and flowing east, then south as part of the border between Colombia and Venezuela, entering Brazil and continuing southeast to join the Amazon at Manáus. Length: about 2250 km (1400 miles)
a river in S central Argentina, formed by the confluence of the Neuquén and Limay Rivers and flowing east and southeast to the Atlantic. Length: about 1014 km (630 miles)
a river in central Uruguay, rising in S Brazil and flowing southwest into the Uruguay River. Length: about 467 km (290 miles)

“member of a black-skinned race of Africa,” 1550s, from Spanish or Portuguese negro “black,” from Latin nigrum (nominative niger) “black, dark, sable, dusky,” figuratively “gloomy, unlucky, bad, wicked,” of unknown origin (perhaps from PIE *nekw-t- “night,” cf. Watkins). As an adjective from 1590s. Use with a capital N- became general early 20c. (e.g. 1930 in “New York Times” stylebook) in reference to U.S. citizens of African descent, but because of its perceived association with white-imposed attitudes and roles the word was ousted late 1960s in this sense by Black (q.v.).

Professor Booker T. Washington, being politely interrogated … as to whether negroes ought to be called ‘negroes’ or ‘members of the colored race’ has replied that it has long been his own practice to write and speak of members of his race as negroes, and when using the term ‘negro’ as a race designation to employ the capital ‘N’ [“Harper’s Weekly,” June 2, 1906]

Meaning “English language as spoken by U.S. blacks” is from 1704. French nègre is a 16c. borrowing from Spanish negro.


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