Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

dignity

play
noun dig·ni·ty \ˈdig-nə-tē\

Simple Definition of dignity

  • : a way of appearing or behaving that suggests seriousness and self-control

  • : the quality of being worthy of honor or respect

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of dignity

plural

dignities

  1. 1 :  the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed

  2. 2 a :  high rank, office, or position b :  a legal title of nobility or honor

  3. 3 archaic :  dignitary

  4. 4 :  formal reserve or seriousness of manner, appearance, or language

Examples of dignity in a sentence

  1. Jenny Daggers links feminist critiques and interreligious dialogue, arguing that our failure to treat people of other traditions with dignity matches in deed and rhetoric our inability to see that women are full and equal members of the community. —Francis X. Clooney, Commonweal, 11 Sept. 2009

  2. When King spoke about the racist past, he gloried in black people beating the odds to win equal rights by arming “ourselves with dignity and self-respect.” —Juan Williams, Wall Street Journal, 4 Apr. 2008

  3. The period just after the Revolutionary War (1780-1820) was a time to project hard-won dignity, not show off. Federal interiors featured muted wall colors … and delicately carved or inlaid decoration. —Kelly Beamon, This Old House, March 2008

  4. Roger was beaming. His creased fat face literally shone with pleasure, which, for the sake of dignity, he struggled to contain. —Alice Adams, The Story and Its Writer, 1987

  5. Every speaker tries to create a love affair with his or her audience. But when the phenomenon called Maya Angelou takes the lectern at Pensacola (Florida) Junior College, she does not so much speak to the audience as “embrace” it. She sings, reads verse, thunders oratorically, even dances. Standing a majestic six feet tall and gifted with a resonant voice and … dignity, she is a poet, preacher, performer extraordinaire. —Cheryl McCall, People , 8 Mar. 1982

  6. She showed dignity in defeat.

  7. The ceremony was conducted with great dignity.

  8. Theirs is a country that cherishes freedom and human dignity.



Origin and Etymology of dignity

Middle English dignete, from Anglo-French digneté, from Latin dignitat-, dignitas, from dignus


First Known Use: 13th century

Other Foreign Functionary Terms



DIGNITY Defined for Kids

dignity

play
noun dig·ni·ty \ˈdig-nə-tē\

Definition of dignity for Students

plural

dignities

  1. 1 :  the quality or state of being worthy of honor and respect <He believes in the dignity of all people.>

  2. 2 :  a serious and admirable look or way of behaving





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up dignity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the lowest point

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

fox-in-summer-forest

Which of these is a synonym of inchoate?

massive experimental formless frightening
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ