ig·​no·​ble | \ ig-ˈnō-bəl How to pronounce ignoble (audio) \

Definition of ignoble

1 : characterized by baseness, lowness, or meanness
2 : of low birth or common origin : plebeian

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Other Words from ignoble

ignobility \ ˌig-​nō-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce ignoble (audio) \ noun
ignobleness \ ig-​ˈnō-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce ignoble (audio) \ noun
ignobly \ ig-​ˈnō-​blē How to pronounce ignoble (audio) also  -​bə-​lē \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for ignoble

mean, ignoble, abject, sordid mean being below the normal standards of human decency and dignity. mean suggests small-mindedness, ill temper, or cupidity. mean and petty satire ignoble suggests a loss or lack of some essential high quality of mind or spirit. an ignoble scramble after material possessions abject may imply degradation, debasement, or servility. abject poverty sordid is stronger than all of these in stressing physical or spiritual degradation and abjectness. a sordid story of murder and revenge

Did You Know?

The word noble, in addition to referring to someone born to aristocratic ranks, can also be used to describe someone of outstanding character. That word first appeared in English in the 13th century, and its antonym, "ignoble," came about two centuries later. Ignoble derives via Middle English and Middle French from the Latin prefix in- ("not") and the Old Latin gnobilis ("noble"). Originally, "ignoble" described someone born to common or plebeian origins, but by the late 16th century it had come to describe people of dishonorable character, or the actions performed by such people.

Examples of ignoble in a Sentence

an ignoble child who would one day grow up to be a prince among playwrights such an ignoble act is completely unworthy of a military officer
Recent Examples on the Web Like other stakeholder proponents, Mr. Schwab cherry-picks examples to support his claim that shareholder capitalism is somehow ignoble or prone to disaster rather than deriving his claims from the totality of available examples. Vivek Ramaswamy, WSJ, "‘Stakeholder Capitalism’ Review: The Global, Olympian ‘We’," 25 Jan. 2021 At one point Lightfoot goes off on the city’s long, ignoble history of aldermanic weaseling and the 1990s federal anti-corruption probe known as the Silver Shovel investigation. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "‘City So Real’ review: A sobering Chicago symphony in five movements, on Hulu and National Geo," 28 Oct. 2020 Take my advice and let this dumb media trope die a deserved, ignoble death. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "In Memoriam: The Trump Pivot," 22 Oct. 2020 Is one condition more noble than the other? Krauss: I’ve been committed to both conditions at different times in my life, and each is filled with plenty of noble and ignoble qualities. Thomas Gebremedhin, The Atlantic, "Nicole Krauss on the Purity of Independence," 2 Oct. 2020 This ignoble tradition runs through the English-speaking tradition of rights and sovereignty. Dominic Green, WSJ, "Everybody Expects the Anti-Catholic Inquisition," 26 Sep. 2020 This is a rapid and ignoble end for a leadership duo that came in during heady times. Alex Vejar, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Inside RSL’s toxic environment under Dell Loy Hansen and Andy Carroll," 6 Sep. 2020 As a result, the isolationist argument collapsed over a matter of days, and in its stead arose another animating, if ignoble, national sentiment: hatred of a common enemy. Harvey Solomon, Smithsonian Magazine, "When the Greenbrier and Other Appalachian Resorts Became Prisons for Axis Diplomats," 21 Feb. 2020 The ban continued more or less on an honor system, with Playland Park going full-blast through peak polio season, the ignoble exception. Paula Allen, ExpressNews.com, "Much like COVID-19, polio shut down schools, public places in 1946; officials urged hand washing and social distancing," 9 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ignoble.' 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 ignoble

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for ignoble

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin ignobilis, from in- + Old Latin gnobilis noble

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The first known use of ignoble was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

9 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ignoble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignoble. Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.

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