dig·​ni·​ty | \ ˈdig-nə-tē How to pronounce dignity (audio) \
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 Similarly, the office of the president, for all its foreign escapades and repressive actions, still seemed to hold some nugget of Sorkinesque dignity or moral traction, even if just for show. Seamas O’reilly, New York Times, "Abandoning Everything You Ever Believed, for Brexit. (Or Trump.)," 6 Nov. 2019 One of the primary focuses of Warren’s labor plans is ensuring the dignity of all workers on the job. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Elizabeth Warren Releases Labor Plan As Democratic Primary Heats Up," 3 Oct. 2019 Nine states and Washington, D.C., now have death-with-dignity legislation. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, "Letters: Legislators, let people end their own lives on their own terms," 11 Sep. 2019 Thanks to Boodman for writing with such compassion and for preserving the Highs’ dignity. BostonGlobe.com, "Letters to the editor of the Boston Globe Magazine," 20 June 2019 There’s pride in the dignity of those officers in these undignified times, and in how vividly their plain-spoken courage and professionalism brings to life the wider value of public service. BostonGlobe.com, "And they are opening their wallets to help raise money — including nearly $10,000 last Monday alone — to offset the legal bills of department officials called to testify before Congress.," 10 Nov. 2019 Watkins would go on to deliver an emotional floor speech about the dignity of the Senate that brought cheers from the galleries. CBS News, "Transcript: Joe McCarthy talks Senate censure on "Face the Nation" November 7, 1954," 7 Nov. 2019 What Harris was doing, though, was standing up for the dignity of Black people. Michael Arceneaux, Essence, "Pete Buttigieg’s Failures As A Candidate Should Not Be Scapegoated By A Trope About Black People," 6 Nov. 2019 Studies have shown that ordinary people tend to be sensitive to their country’s reputation, often treating it as a sacred object or being, the dignity and honor of which should be protected. David Banks, The Conversation, "Why doesn’t the US just send Anne Sacoolas back to the UK? Here’s what’s at stake in this dispute over diplomatic immunity," 1 Nov. 2019

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for dignity

Last Updated

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Dignity.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dignity. Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for dignity


How to pronounce dignity (audio)

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 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

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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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