Negus, Nigger, Nigga: The true origin and translations

Dedrick Conway
2 min readFeb 2, 2021

1. The origin of the word Nigga.

The word nigga is derived from the word Negus. Is a royal title for Ethiopian and African kings. As well all know, once we became enslaved, Negus changed to Niggers. The change of the “e” was to an “I” to represent the decapitation of a black man’s head because once you were enslaved technically, you were dead. The white man enslavers owned enslaved people's heads in two different ways. One being they “owned” enslaved people, so they owned them. Diet (your diet is more than what you eat), so everything enslaved people consumed was given to them by the white man. In simpler terms, they controlled them mentally. Secondly, if they wanted any enslaved person’s head, they could get it through physical force such as torture and senseless killings. Negus soon changed to Niggers.

2. Translation and meaning through language.

During slavery and long after it was over, black people being classified as “niggers” stuck, and it was the simplest way to describe my people or us and still remind us whose “our” master. “Nigger” basically meant dumb, ignorant, uneducated, poor, animalistic, and dangerous. With that classification, our actions, talents, and way of life amplified the meaning and translation of the word throughout its history due to how we were viewed as people.

3. Blacks use the word as a term of endearment.

Since black people have heard the term from Negus to niggers to cope with the word and what it meant, black people used it jokingly by saying “nigga.” Yes, it derives from niggers, but whites must understand that it doesn’t mean anything negative or implies stereotypes. It’s almost like saying brother, friend, amigo, buddy, potna, or used to reference a group of blacks. Yet, whites still seem to hate us for using a term given to us in a plenitude of ways. In addition, black people get so livid over being called a nigga or nigger because it belittles and undermines who we are. Furthermore, it also shows how white people still seem to view us as a whole.

In conclusion, learning and understanding the history, transition, and use of anything better helps us understand everything else.

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Dedrick Conway

Dedrick C. is a serial entrepreneur, indie author, ghostwriter, and artist expressing his perspectives through evocative literary artistry. Top writer in Art!