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

They were buried with ceremony and dignity, and even a favorite toy. Beth Thames | Bethmthames@gmail.com, al.com, "Bloom where you are planted," 26 June 2019 Both organizations hope to overcome that hurdle by meeting the needs and respecting the dignity of the most vulnerable children. Steve Schering, chicagotribune.com, "District 97, OPRF Food Pantry teaming up to offer summer meals to students," 23 June 2019 This is a series that seems to stress the imperative of treating the dead and dying with dignity, no matter the circumstances. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Pose Lets In the Light," 12 June 2019 As a filmmaker, I am drawn to individuals who face the hardships of life with strength, dignity, and grace, showcasing the resilience that resides in each human soul. Austin Meyer, National Geographic, "This carpenter builds crutches for kids. Now it’s his turn to walk.," 7 June 2019 But in telling the boys' truth, DuVernay provides another, just as powerful, revision: the opportunity to see the dignity of black and brown mothers raising their children under the weight of systemic inequality. Candice Benbow, Glamour, "When They See Us Finds Redemption for the Central Park Five—And for Their Mothers," 30 May 2019 In June, delegates at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual conferences passed a near-unanimous resolution affirming the dignity of migrants and refugees. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Several white evangelical leaders reject anti-immigrant rhetoric. Why do their flocks embrace it?," 20 Nov. 2018 Overcoming that fear is a very important step to realizing that person is able to make a change in their life and is able to organize and is able to defend their basic human rights and human dignity. Kate Morrissey, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego immigrant communities preparing for increased enforcement after Trump tweet," 18 June 2019 Prisoners are people’ Informing Scudder’s approach was his deeply held conviction that prisons should treat people with dignity. Dana Walters, The Conversation, "When America had an open prison – the story of Kenyon Scudder and his ‘prison without walls’," 14 June 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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Statistics for dignity

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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

Comments on dignity

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


something desired as essential

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