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

Kennedy leaned heavily on the importance of dignity in Brown v. Plata, the California prison overcrowding case. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "America under Brett Kavanaugh," 11 July 2018 These images capture a casual disregard for black dignity and life. Sharon Mizota, latimes.com, "Review: Police, violence and an artist who paints to provoke," 9 July 2018 With a robust and complex immigration crisis, a broken system, a divided country, and a fight for human dignity. Cara Santana, Harper's BAZAAR, "What Border Officials Actually Think of Trump's Zero Tolerance Immigration Policy," 3 July 2018 The volatility of our world right now requires a response informed by both a respect for human dignity and an understanding of what happens in its absence. Bob Mckillop, Washington Post, "Why take our college basketball team to Auschwitz?," 3 July 2018 The board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the academy’s values of respect for human dignity. Monique Judge, The Root, "Bill Cosby Ousted From Film Academy Along With Roman Polanski," 3 May 2018 There has been a simultaneous drive for greater dignity for the Chinese people. David Runciman, WSJ, "China’s Challenge to Democracy," 26 Apr. 2018 In a hall full of hammers, bows and lightsabers, her weapon of choice for fighting a disease that robs its victims of their dignity is decidedly neurological. Sarah Bahr, Indianapolis Star, "Playing video games could help fight Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome," 1 July 2018 In the United States, government is supposed to reflect the will of the people and treat all people with basic dignity. Oscar J. Benavidez, STAT, "Separating families at the border isn’t just bad policy — it’s horrible for children’s health," 19 June 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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Phrases Related to dignity

beneath one's dignity

Statistics for dignity

Last Updated

19 Sep 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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the setting in which something occurs

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