nigger

[ nig-er ]
/ ˈnɪg ər /
|

noun

Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive.
  1. a contemptuous term used to refer to a black person.
  2. a contemptuous term used to refer to a member of any dark-skinned people.
Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a person of any racial or ethnic origin regarded as contemptible, inferior, ignorant, etc.
a victim of prejudice similar to that suffered by black people; a person who is economically, politically, or socially disenfranchised.

Nearby words

  1. nigerian,
  2. nigerien,
  3. nigga,
  4. niggard,
  5. niggardly,
  6. nigger heaven,
  7. nigger of the narcissus, the,
  8. niggerhead,
  9. niggle,
  10. niggling

Origin of nigger

1640–50; < French nègre < Spanish negro black

Usage alert

The term nigger is now probably the most offensive word in English. Its degree of offensiveness has increased markedly in recent years, although it has been used in a derogatory manner since at least the Revolutionary War. The senses labeled Extremely Disparaging and Offensive represent meanings that are deeply insulting and are used when the speaker deliberately wishes to cause great offense. It is so profoundly offensive that a euphemism has developed for those occasions when the word itself must be discussed, as in court or in a newspaper editorial: “the n-word.”
Despite this, the sense referring to a “black person” is sometimes used self-referentially among African Americans in a neutral or familiar way. The sense referring to other victims of prejudice, especially when used descriptively, as to denounce that prejudice, is not normally considered disparaging—as in “The Irish are the niggers of Europe” from Roddy Doyle's The Commitments —but the other uses are considered contemptuous and hostile.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nigger


British Dictionary definitions for nigger

nigger

/ (ˈnɪɡə) /

noun offensive, taboo

  1. an offensive term for a Black person
  2. (as modifier)nigger minstrels
an offensive term for a member of any dark-skinned race
nigger in the woodpile old-fashioned, offensive a hidden snag or hindrance

Word Origin for nigger

C18: from C16 dialect neeger, from French nègre, from Spanish Negro 1

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 nigger

nigger

n.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper