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oxford english dictionary definition for the "n" word?

i've asked this question before but it censors the word. so i need the definition from this specific dictionary. can anyone help me? its for my honors english 10 essay.

8 Answers

  • K ;
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    You folks are looking in the COMPACT Oxford English Dictionary. But the requester wanted the definition from the FULL version, which is a subscription service. Here it is:

    ******, n. and a. (DRAFT REVISION Sept. 2003):

    A. n. I. Senses referring to people.

    1. A dark-skinned person of sub-Saharan African origin or descent; = ***** n. 1 a.

    This term is strongly racially offensive when used by a white person in reference to a black person. In written Black English and written representations of spoken Black English, however, there are usually not the same negative connotations. Recently the term has been reclaimed by some black speakers and used with positive connotations in various senses (esp. in the form *****: see note in etymology, and senses 1c, 4, and 5). However, even among black speakers, use of the word is problematic because of its potential to give offence, as is clear from the following, from a black speaker:

    1995 N.Y. Times 14 Jan. I. 7 The prosecutor, his voice trembling, added that the ‘N-word’ was so vile that he would not utter it. ‘It's the filthiest, dirtiest, nastiest word in the English language,’ Mr. Darden said.See also N-WORD n.

    a. Used by whites or other non-blacks as a relatively neutral (or occas. positive) term, with no specifically hostile intent.

    Quots. 1608, 1788, etc., expressing patronizing views, reflect underlying attitudes rather than a hostile use of the word itself.

    b. Used by whites or other non-blacks as a hostile term of abuse or contempt.

    c. Used by blacks as a neutral or favourable term.

    d. Used by blacks as a depreciatory term.

    2. a. A person who does menial labour; any person considered to be of low social status. derogatory. Cf. (and earliest in) white ****** s.v. WHITE a. 11e.

    b. Any person whose behaviour is regarded as reprehensible. derogatory.

    3. a. A dark-skinned person of any origin. In early U.S. use usually with reference to American Indians. Usu. offensive.

    b. Austral. (offensive). An Aborigine.

    c. N.Z. (offensive). A Maori.

    4. Now chiefly in African-American usage: a person, a fellow (regardless of skin colour).

    Recent use has developed from a conscious, politically motivated reclamation of the term among black Americans, and as such does not usually carry negative connotations, although it may be considered offensive when used by whites in imitation of this usage.

    The following examples show use of the word in reference to white people; examples showing neutral or positive use in reference to black people are at senses 1a, 1c.

    5. In African-American usage: (with possessive adjective) a close (usually black) friend, a comrade, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a spouse.

    6. Esp. U.S. A person who is socially, politically, or economically disadvantaged or exploited; a victim of prejudice likened to that endured by African-Americans.

    In this use usually with awareness of the word's offensive connotations, but without intention to cause offence, to identify a group regarded as similarly disadvantaged or exploited.

    In quot. 1963, the editor explains:

    1997 D. BRINKLEY in H. S. Thompson Proud Highway 411 (note) After reading Norman Mailer's The White *****, Thompson developed a theory that all working-class people were *******.

    7. U.S. Any person who behaves in a manner associated with urban African-Americans; a person who identifies with urban African-American culture as opposed to middle-class white culture.

    II. Other senses.

    8. Brit. regional. a. The black caterpillar of the turnip sawfly, Athalia rosae. Now rare.

    b. The blackish larva of a ladybird. Now rare.

    c. A black or blackish sea cucumber, Holothuria forskali, common off rocky shores on the west coast of Britain and Ireland. Now rare.

    9. U.S. a. A steam-driven capstan used on some riverboats; a steam engine used to drive such a capstan (also more fully ****** engine). Now rare.

    b. A device used to hold and turn logs in a sawmill.

    10. U.S. A fault, a defect. Obs. rare.

    In quot. used of a flaw in the insulating covering of an electrical conductor.

    11. A dark brown colour. Cf. sense C. 3. Now rare (offensive).

    12. Film and Television. A screen or mask used to deflect or conceal unwanted light, to cast shadows, etc.

    13. Austral. The luderick (fish), Girella tricuspidata.

    III. Phrases. Now offensive.

    14. colloq. (orig. U.S.). to work like a ****** and variants: to work exceptionally hard.

    15. a. U.S. ****** in the fence = ****** in the woodpile, sense 15b. Now rare.

    b. orig. U.S. ****** in the woodpile and variants [see etymological note]: a concealed motive or unknown factor affecting a situation in an adverse way.

    B. adj. (attrib.).

    1. Being a dark-skinned person of sub-Saharan African origin or descent; belonging or relating to dark-skinned people of sub-Saharan African origin or descent. Also (occas.) designating any dark-skinned person (see quot. 1946). See also ****** boy, child, man, sense C. 1. Now usu. offensive (see note at sense A. 1a).

    In extended use in quot. 1842.

    2. Chiefly U.S. slang (derogatory and offensive). Supposedly used by, characteristic of, or suitable for black people; contemptible, disreputable, or despicable; inferior; peculiar; bogus.

    C. Compounds.

    1. General attrib., as ****** boy, child, culture, dialect, emancipation, funeral, hunt, -land, lips, man, melody, mouth, music, quarter(s), show, song.

    All of these compounds are offensive.

    2. Objective, as ******-breaker, -dealer, -driver (also fig.), hunter, hunting, -killer, -lover, -stealer, trader, -worship, -worshipper; ******-driving, -loving adjs.; parasynthetic and similative, as ******-dead, -faced, -looking, -skinned adjs.

    All of these compounds are offensive.

    3. Forming nouns and adjectives denoting or designating a dark shade of a specified colour, as ******-brown, -grey, -pink, etc. Cf. sense A. 11. Now rare (offensive).

    4. niggerball S. Afr. (offensive), a large, spherical, aniseed-flavoured sweet, which is black on the outside, but changes colour in successive layers when sucked. ****** caterpillar Obs. = sense 8a. ****** chaser U.S. (offensive, now hist.), a kind of firework. ****** cloth now hist., any hard-wearing, durable cloth designed to be worn by black slaves (cf. ***** cloth s.v. ***** a. 3). ****** corner U.S. (offensive), (a) that part of a public building in which black people were permitted (obs.); (b) an area in which black people live. ****** dog U.S. rare (offensive) = ***** dog s.v. ***** n. 3. ****** duck U.S. now rare (offensive), the North American black duck, Anas rubripes. niggerfish N. Amer. now rare (offensive), the coney, Epinephelus fulvus (cf. ***** fish s.v. ***** n. 3); (formerly also) the winter flounder, Pseudopleuronectes americanus. ****** goose U.S. regional (offensive, now rare), a cormorant; esp. the double-crested cormorant, Phalacrocorax auritus. niggerhair U.S. regional (offensive, now rare), a red alga, Polysiphonia harveyi. ****** heel Naut. (offensive), an inward curve in the leech of a sail; so ******-heeled a., (of a sail) having such a curved leech. ****** jockey Obs. U.S. slang, a person who deals in black slaves (in quot. 1895 in extended use). ****** lice U.S. regional (offensive), the prickly burs of any of various plants, esp. the one-seeded segments of the jointed pods of a tick trefoil (genus Desmodium). ****** luck U.S. slang (offensive), exceptionally good luck (in later use also ironic). ****** minstrel now hist. = blackface minstrel s.v. MINSTREL n. 3a. ****** rich a. U.S. slang and regional (derogatory and offensive), suddenly and unfamiliarly wealthy; making extravagant or ostentatious use of (esp. newly acquired) wealth. ******-shooter U.S. slang (offensive, now rare), a catapult. ****** stick U.S. slang (offensive), a stick or truncheon carried by a police officer, prison guard, etc. ****** toe U.S. slang (offensive), (a) a variety of potato (obs.); (b) a Brazil nut. ********** (also **********) U.S. slang (now offensive), a neighbourhood with predominantly black residents. Niggerville U.S. slang (now offensive) = **********.

  • 5 years ago

    They'll replace it with a picture of whoever believes that the word "Gullible" will be removed from the English Oxford Dictionary by the year 2050. That is a very very old joke.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I cannot get into the regular Oxford English Dictionary online, because it requires a subscription. However, here is what the Compact Oxford Dictionary says:

    • noun offensive a black person.

    — USAGE The word n****r is very offensive and should not be used.

    — ORIGIN from Spanish ***** ‘black’.

  • 1 decade ago

    The term was born in the South and derived from the Spanish word '*****' (black). The Southern drawl, twang or accent makes it difficult for Southerners to pronounce certain words

    such as are pronounced by Northerners or even Spaniards.

    Early Southern pronunciations of the word ***** would sound like 'Nagra' or 'Nigra', and it evolved from there, much like the word 'worker' for laborers or 'biker' for motorcyclists.

    Non offensive words still in the English language with a near spelling are 'Niggard' adj. (miserly) and '*********' n. (one who is meanly covetous; a miser).

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Function: noun

    Etymology: alteration of earlier neger, from Middle French negre, from Spanish or Portuguese *****, from ***** black, from Latin niger

    1 usually offensive; see usage paragraph below : a black person

    2 usually offensive; see usage paragraph below : a member of any dark-skinned race

    3 : a member of a socially disadvantaged class of persons <it's time for somebody to lead all of America's *******...all the people who feel left out of the political process -- Ron Dellums>

    usage ****** in senses 1 and 2 can be found in the works of such writers of the past as Joseph Conrad, Mark Twain, and Charles Dickens, but it now ranks as perhaps the most offensive and inflammatory racial slur in English. Its use by and among blacks is not always intended or taken as offensive, but, except in sense 3, it is otherwise a word expressive of racial hatred and bigotry.

  • 1 decade ago

    It worked for me:


    • adjective 1 pleasant; agreeable; satisfactory. 2 good-natured; kind. 3 (nice and &em;&em;) satisfactory in terms of the quality described. 4 fine or subtle: a nice distinction. 5 archaic fastidious.

    — DERIVATIVES nicely adverb niceness noun.

    — ORIGIN original senses included stupid and coy, reserved: from Latin nescius ‘ignorant’.

    Good Luck....

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Why can't you look it up? Here's the address and it works.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I remember reading that it means: unlearned, unclean, and ignorant.

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