1. reluctant to give or spend; stingy; miserly.
2. meanly or ungenerously small or scanty: a niggardly tip to a waiter.
Tip? Here’s a tip: Don’t use this word; it’ll get you fired even though there’s nothing racist about the word, it just sounds too close to the “N-word” and the nation’s reading scores aren’t quite high enough to expect anything other than confusion when it’s used.
Just ask two drug counselors in Broward County, Florida, one of whom has been fired and the other suspended for using the word that isn’t the word that should automatically get them disciplined, according to SunSentinel.com.
“It’s Kafkaesque,” said Sam Fields, Suskind-Assidon’s attorney. “How is she supposed to report something that isn’t an offense?”
Tworetzky disputes the county report, but declined further comment.
Suskind-Assidon and Fields said that at an appeals hearing last week, county official Tom Hutka said “niggardly” was a word that could be misconstrued and he “wouldn’t use it.”
As a writer, I’d never use it either. Given its similarity to the combustible N-word, it could only lead to confusion and problems. But making it a firing offense seems over the top.
Suskind-Assidon said she called Tworetzky into the meeting with the substance-abuse client after she sensed the client was “holding back” in his recovery efforts.
According to Suskind-Assidon, Tworetzky told the client he was being “niggardly” about opening up. The client took offense. She said Tworetzky explained it and they later looked it up in the dictionary.
A few days later, the client filed a complaint. His identity was withheld by the county because of medical confidentiality laws.
The current situation in Florida sounds remarkably like the controversy that erupted in Washington DC in 1999 when an aide to the mayor was forced to resign after using it to describe budget funding. He was rehired after city officials acknowledged their lack knowledge of etymology, which — for the record — is not the same as entomology.