ig·​no·​min·​i·​ous ˌig-nə-ˈmi-nē-əs How to pronounce ignominious (audio)
: humiliating, degrading
an ignominious defeat
: deserving of shame or infamy : despicable
: marked with or characterized by disgrace or shame : dishonorable
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 low-level job 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 ignominious milestone is held by the St. Louis Browns/Baltimore Orioles from 1937-1955. Evan Webeck, The Mercury News, 28 Mar. 2024 The Golden State is home to four of the national parks with the haziest skies, with Sequoia and Kings Canyon — which are contiguous — once again claiming the ignominious top slot. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, 20 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for ignominious 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ignominious.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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


Dictionary Entries Near ignominious

Cite this Entry

“Ignominious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignominious. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


ig·​no·​min·​i·​ous ˌig-nə-ˈmin-ē-əs How to pronounce ignominious (audio)
: causing disgrace or shame
an ignominious defeat
ignominiously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on ignominious

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