dig·​ni·​ty | \ ˈdig-nə-tē How to pronounce dignity (audio) \
plural dignities

Essential Meaning of dignity

1 : a way of appearing or behaving that suggests seriousness and self-control She showed dignity in defeat. The ceremony was conducted with great dignity.
2 : the quality of being worthy of honor or respect Theirs is a country that cherishes freedom and human dignity.

Full Definition of dignity

1 : formal reserve or seriousness of manner, appearance, or language
2 : the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed
3a : high rank, office, or position
b : a legal title of nobility or honor
4 archaic : dignitary

Examples of dignity in a Sentence

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 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 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 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 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 She showed dignity in defeat. The ceremony was conducted with great dignity. Theirs is a country that cherishes freedom and human dignity.
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Recent Examples on the Web America’s founding creed teaches that all are created equal, not in talent, but in dignity and worth. William A. Galston, WSJ, 11 Jan. 2022 Calming fears and providing the facts that hospice is a choice of dignity, independence, and preserving quality of life. Sam Boyer, cleveland, 7 Jan. 2022 Sidney Poitier, the Oscar-winning actor who brought a quiet dignity to his characters on screen and helped break down the color barrier in Hollywood, has died. Luchina Fisher, ABC News, 7 Jan. 2022 Everyone starts with the camera off, as if to preserve a little dignity (what if their mouth hangs open for the full 35 minutes?). Paula Throckmorton, Vogue, 16 Dec. 2021 The Streetz, a nonprofit that has been restoring dignity in Los Angeles’s Skid Row’s houseless community by providing food, showers, hair and make up services, health and hygiene items, and real human connection for the past six years. Essence, 13 Dec. 2021 Black togetherness, love, abundance, dignity, complexity, excellence, pride, dynamism, strength and hope are highlighted. Chadd Scott, Forbes, 10 Dec. 2021 With care, Mandić lends his central couple a dignity that’s admirable to observe. Manuel Betancourt, Variety, 9 Dec. 2021 He's taught his kids about their heritage and Afghan values such as dignity, humility and hospitality. John Blake, CNN, 26 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dignity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dignity

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for dignity

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

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Time Traveler for dignity

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The first known use of dignity was in the 13th century

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Last Updated

16 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dignity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dignity. Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for dignity


dig·​ni·​ty | \ ˈdig-nə-tē How to pronounce dignity (audio) \
plural dignities

Kids Definition of dignity

1 : the quality or state of being worthy of honor and respect He believes in the dignity of all people.
2 : a serious and admirable look or way of behaving

More from Merriam-Webster on dignity

Nglish: Translation of dignity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dignity for Arabic Speakers


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