dig·​ni·​ty | \ˈdig-nə-tē \
plural dignities

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

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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

However, the new superintendent has requested a review of all protocols and procedures including safety to ensure that all children are treated with dignity and respect. Caitlin Flynn, Teen Vogue, "Advocacy Group Says a Student Was Left in the Hallway During an Active Shooter Drill Because She's Transgender," 9 Oct. 2018 After ascending to one of the country’s most powerful roles, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright couldn’t even enjoy the dignity of being referred to by her title. Rhaina Cohen, The New Republic, "What the 1990s Got Wrong," 29 June 2018 The circumstances described do not reflect our discharge planning process and policies, which ensure that each patient is treated with dignity and respect. Stacey Burling, Philly.com, "Shelters, hospitals 'playing ping pong' with Philadelphia's homeless, sick population," 28 June 2018 Every human being deserves to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of their immigration status. Justino Aguila, Billboard, "Telemundo, Univision Speak Out on Border Separation of Families: It's Not 'What America Stands For'," 20 June 2018 Victoria’s Secret is adamant that all customers be treated with dignity and respect. Kristin Leigh, ajc, "Tennessee woman says she was racially profiled at Victoria's Secret," 8 June 2018 Special thanks go to the hard working staff at Cardigan Nursing Home who cared for her in her final days with dignity and respect. courant.com, "Josephine R. McBrien," 30 May 2018 The Warriors-San Antonio series was contested in an atmosphere of dignity and respect. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors win, with an emotional farewell to the Spurs," 24 Apr. 2018 He is accorded a measure of dignity and personal respect but not political power. Andrea K. Mcdaniels, baltimoresun.com, "Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy still lives on in the work of young Baltimore activists," 4 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for dignity

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for dignity

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

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More Definitions for dignity



English Language Learners Definition of dignity

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

: the quality of being worthy of honor or respect


dig·​ni·​ty | \ˈdig-nə-tē \
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on dignity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dignity

Spanish Central: Translation of dignity

Nglish: Translation of dignity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dignity for Arabic Speakers

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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