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 She is handed a lot in this episode and manages to handle just about everything with honor and dignity. Rachel Paige, refinery29.com, "R29 Binge Club: Umbrella Academy Season 2 Recap," 3 Aug. 2020 The fight against the pandemic and its links to the fight for Black people’s dignity and respect in the workplace. Chronicle Staff Report, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area political events: Car caravan for safe schools, defending free speech," 3 Aug. 2020 Following in the steps of Jesus’ ministry to the lepers, Fr. Damien challenged the stigmatizing effects of disease, giving voice to the voiceless and ultimately sacrificing his own life to bring dignity to so many. Matthew Walther, TheWeek, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez picked the wrong statue to criticize," 31 July 2020 For Chavez, elections are an opportunity to stand up for herself, to show that her opinions matter and people like her have dignity. Jose A. Del Real, Washington Post, "Latinos transformed Arizona. Do campaigns see them?," 29 July 2020 Come opening week, millions of NFL fans might learn about the poem that became a song that has meant perseverance, dignity, and hope to generations of Black families. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "The NFL’s apparent new wokeness might be performative, but it still matters," 7 July 2020 There is dignity in failing, but a unique cruelty to never having the chance to do so. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Minor League Baseball's canceled 2020 season a cruel blow in grim 2020 sports year," 30 June 2020 Society will learn to treat farmworkers with gratitude and dignity. Quartz Staff, Quartz, "Sarait Martinez and Seth Holmes think coronavirus means we’ll finally appreciate our farmworkers," 30 June 2020 Alice Childress reclaiming her dignity by reinterpreting the foul image laid on her by a judgmental social worker. Chirlane Mccray, Essence, "Chirlane McCray Reflects On The Enduring Legacy of ESSENCE," 30 June 2020

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

7 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dignity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dignity. Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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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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