Stigma was borrowed from Latin stigmat- , stigma, meaning "mark, brand," and ultimately comes from Greek stizein, meaning "to tattoo." Earliest English use hews close to the word's origin: stigma in English first referred to a scar left by a hot iron—that is, a brand. In modern use the scar is figurative: stigma most often refers to a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something—for example, people talk about the stigma associated with mental illness, or the stigma of poverty. When the plural form stigmata is used, the context is frequently religious: stigmata typically refers to bodily marks or pains resembling the wounds of the crucified Jesus and sometimes accompanying religious ecstasy. The first person said to have experienced this miraculous infliction of stigmata is St. Francis of Assisi, in the 13th century.
There's a social stigma attached to receiving welfare.
the stigma of slavery remained long after it had been abolished
Recent Examples on the WebTo buy its products was to proclaim oneself an It Girl without acquiring any of the stigma of snobbery.—Becca Rothfeld, Washington Post, 6 Sep. 2023 Advertising — Sportsbook brands spent $314.6 million on national TV ads in 2022, according to iSpotTV.
Accessibility — Gambling on phone, paying with a credit card, watching a casino Twitch stream
Acceptability — There used to be a stigma associated with gambling in general.—Chris Bumbaca, The Courier-Journal, 5 Sep. 2023 Sunreef has even found a way to counter the stigma that hydrogen power has carried since the Hindenburg crash in 1937.—Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 31 Aug. 2023 For many parents, our response to our kid’s social media disclosures is rooted in our own experiences of stigma.—Devorah Heitner, Washington Post, 15 Sep. 2023 More data could also reduce the stigma around reporting UAP, David Spergel, an astrophysicist who is president of the Simons Foundation and served as the chair of the UAP panel, said at the conference.—Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Sep. 2023 Despite women increasingly delaying the age of first motherhood or opting out of having kids altogether, and celebrities like Handler, Cameron Diaz, and Jennifer Aniston speaking out about the benefits of being child-free, the stigma still persists to a large degree.—Ej Dickson, Rolling Stone, 6 Sep. 2023 The nonfiction hits even harder, covering the stigma of mental illness, the trouble with school reform, the history of a mass-shooting weapon and — in what passes for a palate cleanser these days — an amusing case of mistaken identity that leads to an indictment of our twisted politics.—Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2023 Hebert said that the eligibility program may also reduce the stigma brought on by one student receiving a free meal while another is paying for theirs.—Rae Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 29 Aug. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stigma.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Latin stigmat-, stigma mark, brand, from Greek, from stizein to tattoo — more at stick