nigga

noun
nig·​ga | \ ˈni-gə How to pronounce nigga (audio) \
plural niggas also niggaz\ ˈni-​gəz How to pronounce nigga (audio) \

Definition of nigga

1 offensive, see usage paragraph below used as a pronunciation spelling of nigger
2 sometimes offensive, see usage paragraph below used by some black people to refer to themselves or to another black person in a neutral or positive way

Usage Discussion of Nigga

Nigga originated as a variant of the infamous racial slur nigger, reflecting one of its pronunciations, and for many people it is an equally offensive word. Since the late 20th century, however, the two forms have been diverging in use among some African Americans, with nigga becoming the preferred term for neutral and positive self-referential uses, such as those associated with the world of hip-hop. Those uses are themselves controversial, and despite their prevalence in hip-hop, a music and culture whose millions of fans span all races and ethnicities, the use of nigga by a person who is not black—in any context—is considered highly offensive.

First Known Use of nigga

1848, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of nigga was in 1848

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Cite this Entry

“Nigga.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nigga. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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