stigma

noun
stig·​ma | \ ˈstig-mə How to pronounce stigma (audio) \
plural stigmas or stigmata\ stig-​ˈmä-​tə How to pronounce stigmata (audio) , ˈstig-​mə-​tə How to pronounce stigmata (audio) \

Definition of stigma

1a : a mark of shame or discredit : stain bore the stigma of cowardice
b plural usually stigmata : an identifying mark or characteristic specifically : a specific diagnostic sign of a disease
2a plural usually stigmas : the usually apical part of the pistil of a flower which receives the pollen grains and on which they germinate — see flower illustration
b : a small spot, scar, or opening on a plant or animal
3a stigmata plural : bodily marks or pains resembling the wounds of the crucified Jesus and sometimes accompanying religious ecstasy
b : petechia
4 archaic : a scar left by a hot iron : brand

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Other Words from stigma

stigmal \ ˈstig-​məl How to pronounce stigmal (audio) \ adjective

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.

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

Recent Examples on the Web

That has been the stigma attached to the Pac-12 over the past few years, which was intensified by the Huskies’ 24-7 loss to Alabama two years ago. Matt Calkins, The Seattle Times, "Despite taking a stinging one-two punch, Huskies’ hopes haven’t hit the canvas," 3 Sep. 2018 Others speak at schools and community assemblies hoping to reach at least one person who might otherwise head down the same path, while others have become advocates for better treatment and to end the stigma of addiction. Alexandra Rockey Fleming, Washington Post, "Guidance for families dealing with substance-use disorders," 30 June 2018 Bethany Young Holt, the executive director of CAMI Health, a research organization that works for more funding for MPT development, says there is a stigma about HIV prevention, but much less so for contraceptives. Zoë Schlanger, Newsweek, "Plantibodies Could Pave the Road to Wellness," 15 Dec. 2014 Some of the resistance is rooted in stigma around drug addiction. German Lopez, Vox, "Needle exchanges help combat the opioid crisis. But officials keep shutting them down.," 29 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, with a growing population and decreasing stigma around mental health, demand for psychiatrists is increasing, said Klapheke. Naseem S. Miller, OrlandoSentinel.com, "UCF to bring first psychiatry residency program to area," 25 Apr. 2018 The new initiative is an open-ended commitment that seeks to improve the lives of those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, fight stigma around mental illnesses and help people overcome trauma. Andrew R. Chow, New York Times, "Tisch Fund Gives $10 Million to Initiative for Arts and Mental Health," 24 Apr. 2018 And anyway, when a guy is single, he's seen as free to play the field... no stigma attached. Hannah Orenstein, Seventeen, "17 Surprising Ways You've Internalized Misogyny," 8 Mar. 2019 Many survivors of suicide loss have internalized this stigma. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "7 Things to Say When a Friend’s Loved One Dies by Suicide (and 3 to Avoid)," 5 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stigma.' 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 stigma

circa 1593, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for stigma

Latin stigmat-, stigma mark, brand, from Greek, from stizein to tattoo — more at stick

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Statistics for stigma

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stigma

The first known use of stigma was circa 1593

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More Definitions for stigma

stigma

noun

English Language Learners Definition of stigma

: 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

noun
stig·​ma | \ ˈstig-mə How to pronounce stigma (audio) \
plural stigmata\ stig-​ˈmä-​tə , ˈstig-​mə-​tə \ or stigmas

Kids Definition of stigma

1 : a mark of disgrace or dishonor
2 : the upper part of the pistil of a flower which receives the pollen grains

stigma

noun
stig·​ma | \ ˈstig-mə How to pronounce stigma (audio) \
plural stigmata\ stig-​ˈmät-​ə How to pronounce stigmata (audio) , ˈstig-​mət-​ə How to pronounce stigmata (audio) \ or stigmas

Medical Definition of stigma

1 : an identifying mark or characteristic specifically : a specific diagnostic sign of a disease the stigmata of syphilis
2 : petechia
3 : a small spot, scar, or opening on a plant or animal

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More from Merriam-Webster on stigma

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stigma

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stigma

Spanish Central: Translation of stigma

Nglish: Translation of stigma for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stigma for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about stigma

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