ig·​no·​min·​i·​ous | \ ˌig-nə-ˈmi-nē-əs How to pronounce ignominious (audio) \

Definition of ignominious

1 : humiliating, degrading an ignominious defeat
2 : deserving of shame or infamy : despicable
3 : marked with or characterized by disgrace or shame : dishonorable

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Other Words from ignominious

ignominiously adverb
ignominiousness noun

Did You Know?

The "-nom-" of "ignominious" comes from "nomen," the Latin word for "name" or "repute." (It's also the root of "misnomer," "nomenclature," and "nominal," among others.) The "ig-" part of the word is akin to the negative prefix in-; when joined to the root "-nom-," it indicates the namelessness that goes with shame or dishonor. To suffer an ignominious fate is to lose the opportunity to make a name for oneself or to lose one's good name. When "ignominious" was first borrowed from a French form of the word in the 15th century, it meant "disgraced" or "dishonorable." "Ignominious" continues to have such meanings, but it also has somewhat milder meanings - "embarrassing" and "humiliating."

Examples of ignominious in a Sentence

some of his friends considered the job of janitor to be an ignominious fate for the laid-off executive the prison guards degraded themselves with their inhumane, ignominious treatment of the prisoners
Recent Examples on the Web That distinguished career came to an ignominious end last week when Ethiopian soldiers tracked down Seyoum, now labeled an enemy of the state, and killed him in a muddy and remote corner of the mountainous north of the country. Simon Marks And Declan Walsh New York Times, Star Tribune, "Ethiopian troops hunt ex-rulers," 23 Jan. 2021 This somber account underscores the multiple failures of Mussolini’s leadership, which led to his ouster in 1943 and his ignominious execution by his countrymen at the end of the war. Washington Post, "World War II’s less-famous fascist," 31 Dec. 2020 Now that the Trump administration has come to an unpleasant and ignominious close, a looming question remains: What will happen to the enmities incurred in what was a famously contentious administration? Tevi Troy, Washington Examiner, "Baggage check," 21 Jan. 2021 The reign of King Louis Philippe, the last king of France, came to an abrupt and ignominious end on Feb. 24, 1848, after days of increasingly violent demonstrations in Paris and months of mounting agitation with the government’s policies. New York Times, "Making Sense of the ‘Mob’ Mentality," 12 Jan. 2021 Dinkins served only one term before his ignominious defeat against Republican Rudolph W. Giuliani, leaving behind a complicated legacy. Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times, "David Dinkins, New York’s only Black mayor, dies at 93," 23 Nov. 2020 That Pittsburgh matched that ignominious feat with two games remaining is humiliating, but the Steelers can take solace in the fact that the Saints won the Super Bowl that season. New York Times, "N.F.L. Week 16 Predictions: Our Picks Against the Spread," 24 Dec. 2020 Eventually, executive vice president David Griffin is aiming to reach an echelon this city hasn’t experienced in its ignominious NBA history. Scott Kushner, NOLA.com, "Kushner: Lightning offseason shows Pelicans maneuvering for a big deal down the road," 24 Nov. 2020 The message is crystal clear: Owner Steve Ballmer believes the abrupt, ignominious end squarely falls on Doc. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Clippers needed a new floor general, not a new sideline general," 28 Nov. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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

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Last Updated

10 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ignominious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignominious. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for ignominious



English Language Learners Definition of ignominious

formal : causing disgrace or shame


ig·​no·​min·​i·​ous | \ ˌig-nə-ˈmi-nē-əs How to pronounce ignominious (audio) \

Kids Definition of ignominious

: disgraceful an ignominious defeat

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