ignoble

adjective
ig·​no·​ble | \ig-ˈnō-bəl \

Definition of ignoble 

1 : of low birth or common origin : plebeian

2 : characterized by baseness, lowness, or meanness

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from ignoble

ignobility \ ˌig-​nō-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
ignobleness \ ig-​ˈnō-​bəl-​nəs \ noun
ignobly \ ig-​ˈnō-​blē 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

Image To grande dame Fanny (Harriet Harris), their doubts are ignoble. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: ‘The Royal Family of Broadway,’ This Time in Song," 5 July 2018 The announcement late Friday marked an ignoble end for the embattled university executive, whose tenure had been overshadowed by recent scandals tarnishing the reputation of one of Southern California's premier educational institutions. Thomas Curwen, latimes.com, "Nikias' tenure as USC president was marked by growth and scandal," 26 May 2018 The principal adults in the story reveal that they are driven chiefly by ignoble motives. Dan Hofstadter, WSJ, "Longing, Violence and Social Rank," 25 May 2018 This would mark an ignoble end to a promising political career. Matthew Hennessey, WSJ, "Missouri’s Beleaguered Governor Wants His Day in Court," 20 Apr. 2018 There is nothing at all ignoble about an approachable, crowd-pleasing menu made with care and served by a chummy cast of characters in a boisterous, marketing-friendly environment. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "The Sicilian Butcher: 908 ways to eat meatballs at Maggiore's new Italian restaurant. But are they good?," 10 Apr. 2018 O’Hara, who has directed his own play, has the nerve to add a plea for a charitable donation to Planned Parenthood at the curtain call, conscripting a noble organization into this ignoble theatrical mashup. Toby Zinman, Philly.com, "'Mankind' at Playwrights Horizons: Tedious, offensive satire set in an all-dude future," 11 Jan. 2018 The topic of the Iliad is a tantrum; of Lear preposterous and bloody-minded perversity, of Anna [Karenina] and Emma Bovary [sic] sordid adulteries: the action is for the most part ignoble. Michael Dirda, WSJ, "Review: W.M. Spackman’s Armful of Glittering Prose," 8 Dec. 2017 In his imaginary world, leaders of an ignoble nation begin to enslave children, and this atrocity sets off a world war in which millions perish. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Inside the sanatorium that produced outsider artist Henry Darger," 26 Oct. 2017

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.

See More

First Known Use of ignoble

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ignoble

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ignoble

Listen to Our Podcast about ignoble

Statistics for ignoble

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ignoble

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ignoble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ignoble

Spanish Central: Translation of ignoble

Nglish: Translation of ignoble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ignoble for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ignoble

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

WORD OF THE DAY

playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!