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

Keep scrolling for more

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 The site did make a brief appearance on the internet, launching last Wednesday, but had an ignominious start. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, 8 Sep. 2021 Tesla chief Elon Musk was obliged to make an ignominious admission to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. WSJ, 31 Aug. 2021 The attack marked the most gruesome and ignominious moment yet in the endgame of America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan. Brian Bennett, Time, 27 Aug. 2021 And so the Boleyns’ meteoric rise to power came to an abrupt, ignominious end. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Aug. 2021 Over the past three weeks Hyde had been consumed with ending his team’s ignominious losing streak, which had reached 19 games. James Wagner, New York Times, 26 Aug. 2021 According to the paper, Australia has the ignominious distinction of having the highest historical rate of mammal extinctions in the world, losing 34 species since European colonization in 1788. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 June 2021 Thanks to Bulldogs starter Will Bednar and reliever Landon Sims, Texas now holds the ignominious record for most strikeouts in a CWS game: 21. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, 21 June 2021 The fall of the Afghan government and the ignominious American retreat underway is depressing, John Sopko says. Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY, 18 Aug. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of ignominious

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About ignominious

Time Traveler for ignominious

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About ignominious

Dictionary Entries Near ignominious

ignoble hawk



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for ignominious

Last Updated

14 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ignominious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignominious. Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ignominious



English Language Learners Definition of ignominious

: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on ignominious

Nglish: Translation of ignominious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ignominious for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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