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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).

NIGGAR, n. Also nigger, neeger (Rxb. 1954 Hawick News (18 June) 7), ni(e)gre (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Lnk. 1827 J. Watt Poems 72). nager (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.), na(y)gur (Uls. 1953 Traynor), niggart (Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 282; Ags. 1964), niggered, neagered. Sc. forms and usage of Eng. niggard (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ags., Kcb., Uls. 1964). For loss of final -d, cf. P.L.D. § 64. Also used adj. = niggardly, and adv., in a stinted manner, penuriously (Ork. 1964). [′nɪgər, ′ni-]Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems I. 35:
That niggart carline never thrives Wha hains her bread an' cheese.
Rxb. 1811 A. Scott Poems 122:
What stored the auld niggar's hive.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Gathering of West (1939) 41:
I'll never believe but ye're a real hard nigger after this.
Ags. 1853 Brechin Advertiser (15 March) 4:
O sirs, but this warld's a warld o' care! Whilk gars mony a good chiel gang nigger'd an' bare.
Lnk. 1867 J. M. Peacock Reverie 101:
They baith were sae neagred, that naebody cared How soon they micht gang to the auld kirkyard.

Hence nagerliness, niggardliness, stinginess (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.); ¶niggerality, id., formed on the analogy of liberality.Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail lxxxiii.:
If they're guilty o' sic niggerality, I'll mak out a count.

2. A brick of metal or fireclay, used to reduce the size of a fire in a grate for economy, or to keep the fire from the oven (Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Dmf. 1958). Also in Eng. dial.

[O.Sc. negart, a miser, 1560, negartie, miserliness, 1535, niggirtness, id., c.1500.]

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"Niggar n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Sep 2022 <>



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