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

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

How the career of Peter Strzok — a celebrated FBI counterintelligence investigator who had spent decades busting terrorists and spies — came to an ignominious end. Matt Zapotosky, The Seattle Times, "How anti-Trump texts ruined the career of the FBI’s go-to agent," 14 Aug. 2018 That ended Wednesday, and given the result, Hood’s 15-point performance stands as a somewhat ignominious symbol of Cleveland’s refusal to dust him off much sooner. Jeremy Woo, SI.com, "Kevin Durant Puts on an Absolute Show in Game 3 to Put Cavs on Brink of Elimination," 6 June 2018 This transformation is one of the most notable — possibly most ignominious? — legacies of the ’90s, perhaps even more so than the mushroom cuts, black chokers, and off-kilter camera work. Rebecca Schuman, Longreads, "When ‘The Real World’ Gave Up on Reality," 6 June 2018 Never before have more than four teams finished with 100 or more losses in a single season, an ignominious record set in 2002 that very well could fall in a few months. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "A Baseball Season With Too Many Awful Teams," 11 May 2018 Danny's compassionate nature is weakness in her eyes, and Davos internalizes that lesson, particularly after his ignominious defeat by an upstart outsider. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Iron Fist’s second Netflix season mostly lives up to its promising trailer," 10 Sep. 2018 The Croats went on to win 3-0 - a result which leaves La Albiceleste on the brink of an ignominious early exit - and Caballero was at fault, lifting the ball up for Ante Rebic to volley home. SI.com, "José Mourinho Slams Argentina Keeper Before Disastrous Error Against Croatia," 22 June 2018 Yet despite these accomplishments, be assured most university presidents and faculty yearn for Mr. Daniels’s failure and ignominious exit. WSJ, "Boilermakers Are a Model for College Cost Cuts," 19 Dec. 2018 But Donald Trump and the ignominious Trump University don’t come into the picture till about 80 minutes into this 93-minute documentary by Alexander Shebanow. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘Fail State’ Review: Schools That Don’t Make the Grade," 14 Dec. 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

14 Jun 2019

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

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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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showing courage and determination

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