“The Magic of Words”

Summer2012_NWord_KenyaMoonEach day we receive an email with a “word of the day,”  with a  definition, etymology, and sample of usage.  Because the messages are meant to enhance our appreciation of language, there is an explanation about why the words that are chosen are special.  The slogan of the organization that sends the messages is “The Magic of Words” (which should in no way be confused with The Magic of Middle-Aged Women”).

Yesterday’s word:




noun: A mean, stingy person.
adjective: Stingy.


>From Middle English nigard, of Scandinavian origin. Earliest documented use: 1384. 


Today’s word has nothing to do with the N-word, however, similarity in sounds has led to people objecting to it. It’s seen more often in its adjectival form, niggardly, as in: “Japan has the world’s second-largest economy, yet its promised $200m so far is niggardly.” 


Such is the power of the N-word that even an enterprise that is devoted to the richness of our language cannot write it.

Truly this word is magical.


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