Is the term “nappy” offensive?


So I came across a heated twitter discussion ( as always ) a couple weeks ago about the word “nappy”.

The question was, Are you offended when people, whether black, white, hispanic, what have you, use this word to describe African American hair?

Needless to say, there were TONS of very colorful responses. Some thought the term “nappy” is utterly despicable, and should never be used in the English language. Others weren’t as offended by the derogatory term, simply because they “don’t care” or it doesn’t bother them as much.



PERSONALLY… I think the term “nappy” is such a slang term, and we all know it derived from the slave days. “Nappy” was used to describe African American hair that has more of a “coarse”, kinkier texture. In my opinion, it just has such a negative connotation, and RING to it. It sounds gross. Im not a fan of the word.

Naturals, what are your thoughts? Are you offended by the term “nappy”, or does it not bother you? Post your thoughts and comments below!

Always remember: You are Fearfully, Wonderfully and “Beautifully mane.”

14 thoughts on “Is the term “nappy” offensive?

  1. I’m not sure why it says “african-american” hair but i digress…unto the actual question, I do not think the word nappy is offensive, I actually call my own hair nappy. Others might find it offensive because of how its been used in the past to degrade the hair textures of black people…

  2. Idk. Im not crazy about the word, but definitely not offended by it either. The fact that it seems to have such a negative connotation kinda makes me want to embrace it and reclassify it like we’ve done with the whole concept of being natural.

    • Thats an interesting perspective! Maybe because it has such negative meanings and shines such a negative light on what “kinky” or “coarse” hair is, maybe its time for a change.

      Maybe we should reclassify… I like that, girl! Thanks for sharing.

      With kinks,


  3. The word has a negative impact behind it. It’s used as if kinky, curly and coiled hair is subpar, to other textures of hair. I opt to not use the word due to the negative connotation associated with it.

  4. I honestly do find it offensive because of the connotation as well. The only people who ask me if my hair is “nappy” are my Caucasian friends ignorant to other races. It’s funny when I just researched the word though that the first definition was “a baby’s diaper.” Very odd. I’ve never heard the word used or assimilated with the description in this post or the one I found.

  5. I would be offended if anyone used the word nappy to describe my hair. I would not describe my hair as nappy to people.
    However, in the past I have thought of my hair as nappy {on a particular day} and I described it as nappy to my best friend on that particular day.
    This is Merriam Webster’s definition “of hair : having many tight bends or curls” AND “kinky”. It’s also defines it as a “diaper”, chiefly British.
    Below is the link to the various definitions

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