[nig-erd-lee] /ˈnɪg ərd li/

reluctant to give or spend; stingy; miserly.
meanly or ungenerously small or scanty:
a niggardly tip to a waiter.
in the manner of a .
stingy or ungenerous
meagre: a niggardly salary
stingily; grudgingly

1560s, from niggard + -ly (1).

It was while giving a speech in Washington, to a very international audience, about the British theft of the Elgin marbles from the Parthenon. I described the attitude of the current British authorities as “niggardly.” Nobody said anything, but I privately resolved — having felt the word hanging in the air a bit — to say “parsimonious” from then on. [Christopher Hitchens, “The Pernicious Effects of Banning Words,”, Dec. 4, 2006]

As an adverb from 1520s. Related: Niggardliness.


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