Green’s Dictionary of Slang

nigger adj.

also neger, niggah, nigra, nigrah
[nigger n.1 (1)]

1. (orig. US) a derog. term indicating something or someone associated with black culture; thus as derog., contemptible, odd, inferior.

[UK]‘R.M.’ Scarronides 48: All sorts came here, from Fair to Neger.
[US]J. Neal Brother Jonathan I 414: Cotch! – I reckon! – clear nigger that.
[UK]Morn. Chron. (London) 6 June 1/5: [US source] The wee half-negar lad, and the dog playing and skylarking as usual.
[US]Jeffersonian Republican (Stroudsburg, PA) 12 Oct. 3/1: O, Marm! if you’d only bin there. They had a kupple of nigger doll-babies.
[UK]Dickens Martin Chuzzlewit (1995) 263: ‘[It] is as much one of the ennobling institutions of our happy country as — ’ ‘As nigger slavery itself,’ suggested Mr. Brick.
[US]H.B. Stowe Dred I 238: ‘What did you have to eat?’ [...] ‘Found some old bones round the nigger-houses.’.
[US]H.L. Williams Black-Eyed Beauty 61: He used to go to a nigger church in Green Street.
[US]Chicago Street Gazette 1/5: The girls all say you would make a beautiful pimp for some landlady of a nigger dive.
[US](con. 1860s) W. Goss Recollections of a Private 260: Thousands of crows, sleek, fat and noisy, were constantly seen around the camps [...] The citizens had no ammunition, and we were not allowed to waste it on ‘nigger crows,’ as Pat Quin called them.
[NZ]Marlborough Exp. 5 Apr. 2/8: Two other Wairarapu chiefs have published a letter calling on Mr Duthie to withdraw his reference to ‘nigger landlords’.
[UK]Boys Of The Empire 30 Apr. 50: You have a head like a timber-yard, and a foot like ten nigger feet rolled into one.
[UK]‘J.W.L.’ Slave Stories 101: He lifted me up, and tell me dat he don’t ’low niggah trash to speak to him like dat.
[UK]N. Douglas London Street Games 72: My foot slipped and I tumbled in – / Two little nigger-boys laughed at me.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 354: The dark one with the mop head and the nigger mouth.
[US]E.C.L. Adams Congaree Sketches 12: I ain’t pay too much ’tension to da preacher. Dat ain’t nuthen but nigger talk.
[US] (ref. to late 19C) N. Kimball Amer. Madam (1981) 21: I ran at first a fine twenty-dollar luxury house with clean pretty whores. Prices went down from there till you got to the fifteen-cent, two-bit nigrah cribs.
C. Drew ‘The Nig’ in Bulletin 14 Aug. 49/1: I ain’t ever told you birds about that nigger footrunner that me and Handsome Harry was trainin’ out at Botany.
[UK]G. Kersh Night and the City 11: Three months ago he was a nigger fireman on a Jamaican banana-boat.
[US]I. Wolfert Tucker’s People (1944) 180: His voice didn’t sound nigger to me.
[SA]H.C. Bosman Willemsdorp (1981) I 480: I stiil say, yus, he don’t walk with a nigger walk.
[US]C. Himes Real Cool Killers (1969) 40: A white man got himself killed in the middle of a crowded nigger street.
A. Burgess Beds in the East (1972) 611: ‘Cor,’ he said. ‘Ted’s ’ere [i.e. Malaysia] too. Oo’d ’ave thought we’d meet nigger Teds?’.
[US]R. Stone Hall of Mirrors (1987) 323: It does look like the nigra people’s gonna go with us.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Mama Black Widow 50: All of nigger Chicago is lousy with policy stations [...] and whore cribs.
[Oth]D. Marechera House of Hunger (2013) [book] [of a white Zimbabwean] ‘She’s got everything nigger girls don’t have’.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 33: Every nigger mack fresh out of big foot country.
[SA]S. Roberts ‘And Never Come Back Again’ Outside Life’s Feast 7: Nigger-balls are the best sweets. You get four for a penny.
[US]W.T. Vollmann Whores for Gloria 112: That’s just reg’lar nigger hair.
[US]K. Anderson Night Dogs 40: ‘Two nigger cab drivers just hapen to be across the street’.
[US]T. Udo Vatican Bloodbath 8: Now, how about one of you motherfuckers goes and gets us some of that good-shit wine they got downstairs and not some of this po’ nigga shit that y’all sittin’ here drinkin?
[UK] in D. Seabrook Jack of Jumps (2007) 201: I went to a nigger club [...] and found her drunk and dancing with coloured men.
[US]J. Hannaham Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit 20: Some nigga trick they already know, bein a nigga theyself.

2. pertaining to ‘nigger’ minstrels (usu. white singers in blackface).

[UK]G.A. Sala Twice Round the Clock 106: Boys screaming shrill Nigger melodies, and rattling pieces of slate between their fingers.
[Aus]Sth Aus. Advertiser (Adelaide, SA) 11 Mar. 2/5: [A] slang song book, in which everybody is abused by name in wretched parodies of nigger and other songs.
[UK]Sporting Gaz. (London) 22 July 16/3: ‘[W]e shall be spared the customary slang of burlesques, and be quite independent of nigger breakdowns’.
[UK]London Life 24 May 8/2: [He] dragged him back to Bow Street for the crime of taking home one of his nigger calico coats to be washed.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 31 Jan. 2/3: After the usual first part ‘nigger’ business and several interludes, a capital little piece of absurdly amusing badinage, being a burlesque of Offenbach’s ‘Grand Duchess,’ was played in the usual Kelly-and-Leon-vigorously-mirth-moving style.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 2 Sept. 3/1: Playiing his fiddle in a nigger show.
Music Hall & Theatre Rev 16 Feb. 4/2: De Voy, Leclerq, and Co. were just finishing their amusing nigger business. These artistes are ‘immense,’ and a sure card for any manager.
[UK]G. du Maurier Trilby 141: Lorrimer [...] can even scream with laughter at a comic song – even a nigger melody.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 8 June 2/3: Maud Faning'e realistic nigger turns have knocked Adelaide bandy.
[Aus]Lone Hand May 81: ‘I’d sing her nigger songs and cake-walk things’.