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See more synonyms for niggardly on Thesaurus.com
  1. reluctant to give or spend; stingy; miserly.
  2. meanly or ungenerously small or scanty: a niggardly tip to a waiter.
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  1. in the manner of a niggard.
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Origin of niggardly

First recorded in 1520–30; niggard + -ly
Related formsnig·gard·li·ness, noun

Synonyms for niggardly

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Antonyms for niggardly

Usage note

See niggard.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for niggardly

poor, unequal, lacking, deficient, weak, meager, sketchy, scarce, faulty, incompetent, incomplete, skimpy, unsatisfactory, shoddy, substandard, feeble, modest, insufficient, miserable, mediocre

British Dictionary definitions for niggardly


  1. stingy or ungenerous
  2. meagrea niggardly salary
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  1. stingily; grudgingly
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Derived Formsniggardliness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for niggardly


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," Slate.com, Dec. 4, 2006]

As an adverb from 1520s. Related: Niggardliness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper