More than one person has been fired recently for using the word "niggardly" in context. Taken by the ignorant to be a racist term, its etymology has nothing to do with race, and its definition and use does not relate to common racist stereotypes. The word is an adjective meaning "stingy" or "miserly" and was derived from the Old Norse verb "nigla," which means "to fuss about small matters," and not from the Spanish/Poruguese word for black. niggardly [ ˈnigərdlē ] ADJECTIVE not generous; stingy: "serving out the rations with a niggardly hand" synonyms: cheap · mean · miserly · parsimonious · close-fisted · More ADVERB archaic in a stingy or meager manner. Yet, because it may sound like a racist slur to those who don't understand language, its usage today is wrought with danger. Despite an explanation and verification of the origins and meaning of the word, not everyone has gotten their jobs or reputations back. Facts be damned, people are pressured to resign or to fire those using the word, in context, due to ignorance, and the ignorant generally prevail.