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 impeachment of a president is a rare moment in the history of the country, and so Wednesday’s vote in the House puts President Trump into the annals of the nation in the most ignominious of ways. BostonGlobe.com, "Given the near-certain outcome in the Senate, the issues that resulted in the impeachment vote on Wednesday will fold into the ongoing political conflict as the nation heads toward the 2020 presidential election.," 20 Dec. 2019 Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi and former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger often feature on that ignominious list of the undeserving. Rashmee Roshan Lall, Quartz, "This year’s Nobel peace prize really has gone to a peacemaker," 11 Oct. 2019 The doll, covered in fluffy swan skin, suffered an ignominious end, beheaded and bedraggled in a courtyard the morning after Kokoschka threw a raucous farewell party for it. Cathleen Schine, The New York Review of Books, "It Had to Be Her," 7 Jan. 2020 In something of an ignominious honor, the Warriors’ Damion Lee and Ky Bowman have accounted for a league-most 483 points by two-way players. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich, Golden State Warriors’ Steve Kerr taking different approaches amid tough seasons," 30 Dec. 2019 The Swedish international had played every single minute of United's Premier League campaign up until Sunday's defeat, but wasn't even good for a spot on the bench for that ignominious encounter. SI.com, "Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Explains Why Victor Lindelof Was Left Out of Man Utd Squad to Face Newcastle," 7 Oct. 2019 Their misbegotten efforts have not made them human but something much less than that, something base, ignominious—parasites, in fact. Ryu Spaeth, The New Republic, "The Irishman and Parasite: Two Paths for the Hustle," 11 Dec. 2019 Even the most seemingly insignificant (or in Weiner’s case, ignominious) decisions can influence the course of history. Avi Selk, Washington Post, "Decisions that shaped the decade," 10 Dec. 2019 The result was catastrophic: One of the worst defeats, and one of the most ignominious withdrawals, in American military history. Hampton Sides, Time, "Douglas MacArthur Is One of America's Most Famous Generals. He's Also the Most Overrated," 11 Nov. 2019

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

Statistics for ignominious

Last Updated

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ignominious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignominious. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ignominious


How to pronounce ignominious (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on ignominious

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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