Definition of niggardly in English:


Line breaks: nig|gard¦ly
Pronunciation: /ˈnɪgədli



archaic Back to top  
  • In a mean or meagre manner.
    More example sentences
    • So, while I saw the guests sipping niggardly the punch in their short glasses, I helped myself to a decanter.



More example sentences
  • Men with implausible whiskers and killer breath traded ribaldry and cursed the niggardliness of non-buyers, while women doled out penny dainties to raggedy kids and cackled about their menfolk's amorous shortcomings.
  • There is a kind of niggardliness that mistakes itself for measure, for judgment.
  • Its function is to purify the heart from the lowly bestial attributes of lust, calamities of the tongue, anger, malice, jealousy, love of the world, love of fame, niggardliness, greed, ostentation, vanity, deception, etc.


mid 16th century: from niggard + -ly1.


The word niggardly has no connection with the highly offensive term nigger, but because of the similarity of sound and its negative meaning of ‘mean, ungenerous’ many people are uncomfortable with using it for fear of causing offence, and in the US it is now widely avoided.

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