Definition of stigma
stigmataplay play \stig-ˈmä-tə, ˈstig-mə-tə\ or
1a archaic : a scar left by a hot iron : brandb : a mark of shame or discredit : stain bore the stigma of cowardicec : an identifying mark or characteristic; specifically : a specific diagnostic sign of a disease
2a stigmata plural : bodily marks or pains resembling the wounds of the crucified Jesus and sometimes accompanying religious ecstasyb : petechia
3a : a small spot, scar, or opening on a plant or animalb : the usually apical part of the pistil of a flower which receives the pollen grains and on which they germinate — see flower illustration
stigmalplay \ˈstig-məl\ adjective
Examples of stigma in a Sentence
There's a social stigma attached to receiving welfare.
the stigma of slavery remained long after it had been abolished
Did You Know?
In Greek and Latin, a stigma was a mark or brand, especially one that marked a slave, so a stigma marked a person as inferior. When the plural form stigmata is used, it usually refers to the nail wounds on Christ's hands and feet, wounds which have sometimes reappeared on the hands or feet of later worshippers such as St. Francis. When stigma began to be used in English, it usually meant the kind of mark or stain you can't actually see. So today we hear about the stigma of homelessness, the stigma of overweight, and the stigma of mental illness. People may be so afraid of being stigmatized for losing a job that they'll put on their office clothes and drive out their driveways every weekday morning so that the neighbors won't know.
Origin and Etymology of stigma
Latin stigmat-, stigma mark, brand, from Greek, from stizein to tattoo — more at stick
First Known Use: circa 1593
STIGMA Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of stigma for English Language Learners
: a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something
botany : the top part in the center of a flower which receives the pollen
STIGMA Defined for Kids
Definition of stigma for Students
stigmata\stig-ˈmä-tə, ˈstig-mə-tə\ or
1 : a mark of disgrace or dishonor
2 : the upper part of the pistil of a flower which receives the pollen grains
Medical Definition of stigma
stigmata\stig-ˈmät-ə, ˈstig-mət-ə\play play or
1: an identifying mark or characteristic; specifically : a specific diagnostic sign of a disease the stigmata of syphilis
3: a small spot, scar, or opening on a plant or animal
Learn More about stigma
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up stigma? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).