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

Definition of ignoble

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

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Other Words from ignoble

ignobility \ ˌig-​nō-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce ignobility (audio) \ noun
ignobleness \ ig-​ˈnō-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce ignobleness (audio) \ noun
ignobly \ ig-​ˈnō-​blē How to pronounce ignobly (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 Abandoning these people to be rounded up into a dictator’s torture dungeons will be another stain on America’s already ignoble record of inaction and acquiescence to mass atrocities in Syria. Elizabeth Tsurkov, The New Republic, "The Syria Withdrawal’s Other Victims," 24 Oct. 2019 The first enslaved Africans in England’s colonies in America were brought to this peninsula on a ship flying the Dutch flag in 1619, beginning a long ignoble period of slavery in the colonies and, later, this Nation. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "The First Africans in Virginia Landed in 1619. It Was a Turning Point for Slavery in American History—But Not the Beginning," 20 Aug. 2019 So many hyper-ambitious American men obnoxiously make this same self-comparison and idolize Gatsby, without perhaps remembering the ignoble end that character met. Lesley M.m. Blume, Town & Country, "The Profane Originality of Robert Evans, Hollywood's Most Unapologetic Gatsby," 2 Nov. 2019 And then there are slightly less glorious snapshots, including his ill-fated stint at Banana Republic, which came to a swift, ignoble end when he was falsely accused of shoplifting. Jordan Runtagh, PEOPLE.com, "New Book of Jeff Buckley’s Journals and Belongings Offers a Vivid Self-Portrait of the Late Artist," 31 Oct. 2019 Nathalie Emmanuel as Deet Nathalie Emmanuel‘s Game of Thrones character had one of the most ignoble exits of the final season, but Deet is a far cry from Missandei. Christian Holub, EW.com, "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance," 31 Aug. 2019 The reasons are partly ignoble: In a country of 330 million people who have implements of mayhem within easy reach, bad things are going to happen. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "We Are a Homicidal Species," 2 Nov. 2018 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

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 1

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

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Ignoble.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignoble. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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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).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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