stigma

noun

stig·​ma ˈstig-mə How to pronounce stigma (audio)
plural stigmas or stigmata stig-ˈmä-tə How to pronounce stigma (audio) ˈstig-mə-tə How to pronounce stigma (audio)
1
a
: a set of negative and unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something
One of the major obstacles to persons seeking treatment for addiction is the stigma attached to the disease.Bob Gaydos
For many years, e-bikes carried the stigma of being vehicles for lazy pedalers and seniors.Brian X. Chen
Given the stigma attached to welfare, some children's advocates have come to the view that the soundest way, politically, to help poor children is to help all.Paul Taylor
b
: a mark of shame or discredit : stain
bore the stigma of cowardice
c
plural usually stigmata : an identifying mark or characteristic
specifically : a specific diagnostic sign of a disease
2
a
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
3
a
stigmata plural : bodily marks or pains resembling the wounds of the crucified Jesus and sometimes accompanying religious ecstasy
b
4
archaic : a scar left by a hot iron : brand
stigmal adjective

Did you know?

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.

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 The first was that those living with HIV still face significant stigma. Spenser Mestel, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 July 2024 Care for such patients is extremely difficult to obtain, in part due to medical and legal restrictions, along with the social stigma. Sonja Sharp, Los Angeles Times, 9 July 2024 Social stigma for vocational students Among the cacophony of commentary, some suspect the harsh public scrutiny of Jiang is rooted in social prejudice against vocational students. Joyce Jiang, CNN, 8 July 2024 Biles’s decision to speak out helps dispel some of that stigma and allows more people, including her teammates, to share their own concerns. Li Zhou, Vox, 3 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for stigma 

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Time Traveler
The first known use of stigma was in 1579

Dictionary Entries Near stigma

Cite this Entry

“Stigma.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stigma. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

stigma

noun
stig·​ma ˈstig-mə How to pronounce stigma (audio)
plural stigmata stig-ˈmät-ə How to pronounce stigma (audio) ˈstig-mət-ə How to pronounce stigma (audio) or stigmas
1
a
: a mark of shame : stain
b
: an identifying mark or characteristic
especially : a specific sign that indicates the presence of a disease
2
stigmata plural : bodily marks or pains resembling the wounds of Jesus when nailed on the cross
3
a
: a small spot, scar, or opening on a plant or animal
b
: the upper part of the pistil of a flower which receives the pollen grains and on which they start to grow
stigmatic
stig-ˈmat-ik
adjective

Medical Definition

stigma

noun
stig·​ma ˈstig-mə How to pronounce stigma (audio)
plural stigmata stig-ˈmät-ə How to pronounce stigma (audio) ˈstig-mət-ə How to pronounce stigma (audio) or stigmas
1
: an identifying mark or characteristic
specifically : a specific diagnostic sign of a disease
the stigmata of syphilis
2
3
: a small spot, scar, or opening on a plant or animal

More from Merriam-Webster on stigma

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