ig·​no·​min·​i·​ous | \ˌig-nə-ˈmi-nē-əs \

Definition of ignominious 

1 : marked with or characterized by disgrace or shame : dishonorable

2 : deserving of shame or infamy : despicable

3 : humiliating, degrading an ignominious defeat

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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

In advance of the ignominious upcoming removal, the Steam version of the game will be discounted 90 percent starting Saturday, May 13, from its current price of $30 (£23) to an extremely low price of $3 (~£2). Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Alan Wake returns to digital storefronts after music rights snafu [Updated]," 26 Oct. 2018 And the damaged Rembrandt is hardly the only Old (or modern) Master to suffer an ignominious turn. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "How to Get a Priceless Painting Across an Ocean? In Louis Vuitton, Of Course," 8 Oct. 2018 Another ignominious first for the league: No high-major since 1996–97 had failed to put a team in the round of 32. Chris Johnson, SI.com, "March Madness Day 1 Takeaways: Loyola-Chicago Provides a Spark; SEC Shines While Pac-12 Flops," 16 Mar. 2018 Smith was embittered by the ignominious loss of his home state in 1928 and the underwhelming margin in his own city. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Trailblazers in Politics and Civil Rights," 19 Apr. 2018 The project never recovered from this ignominious retreat, and it was canceled in 1944. Lucy Cooke, Washington Post, "The batty, explosive history of bats in the military — and why this new idea just might work," 2 July 2018 Germany joined a list of ignominious World Cup list Wednesday with its 2-0 loss to South Korea: defending champions to fail to advance from its group. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "Dirk Nowitzki and others react as Germany is knocked out of the World Cup," 27 June 2018 Why hasn't Pruitt joined that ignominious list yet? Chris Cillizza, CNN, "Scott Pruitt: Tick, tick, tick...," 23 Apr. 2018 The project never recovered from this ignominious retreat, and it was canceled in 1944. Lucy Cooke, Washington Post, "The batty, explosive history of bats in the military — and why this new idea just might work," 2 July 2018

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 1

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Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for ignominious

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

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More Definitions for ignominious



English Language Learners Definition of ignominious

: causing disgrace or shame


ig·​no·​min·​i·​ous | \ˌig-nə-ˈmi-nē-əs \

Kids Definition of ignominious

: disgraceful an ignominious defeat

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


living or existing for a long time

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