stigma

noun
stig·​ma | \ ˈstig-mə \
plural stigmas or stigmata\ stig-​ˈmä-​tə , ˈstig-​mə-​tə \

Definition of stigma

1a : a mark of shame or discredit : stain bore the stigma of cowardice
b : 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 ecstasy
b : petechia
3a : 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
4 archaic : a scar left by a hot iron : brand

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Other Words from stigma

stigmal \ ˈstig-​məl \ 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

According to Mental Health America, stigma can be a contributing factor in why some black people feel prevented from seeking help. Ella Cerón, Teen Vogue, "Isan Elba on Balancing Her Golden Globe Ambassador Duties and Schoolwork," 16 Nov. 2018 In my experience, stigma and discrimination are often worse than a bipolar diagnosis itself. Tessa Miller, The Cut, "6 Women on Living With Bipolar Disorder," 20 Apr. 2018 Age-gap relationships come with a certain amount of stigma, and that external skepticism can start to infiltrate your couple. Karley Sciortino, Vogue, "Why Dating Someone Older Isn’t Always Such a Bad Idea," 17 Aug. 2018 Now that apps like Tinder have become commonplace as ways to meet people, finding a mate on the Internet has lost a lot of its stigma. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "What Your Zodiac Sign Says About Your Online Dating Style," 6 July 2018 Office napping carries much less of a stigma in other parts of the world. Robert Channick, chicagotribune.com, "Office napping climbs out from under the desk and into high-tech pods," 5 July 2018 The history of training people to use the non-dominant hand is fraught with abuse, as left-handedness was once the source of stigma. Tom Avril, Philly.com, "Phillies pitcher Vince Velasquez can throw with either hand. What does that say about his brain?," 3 July 2018 There's too much of a stigma around criticizing police, Dawkins said. Lavendrick Smith, charlotteobserver, "'Move beyond the stinging words.' Forum tries to improve police-community ties.," 22 June 2018 The same type of stigma is happening now with substance abuse and the opioid epidemic. Sandeep Kapoor, STAT, "‘Angels in America’ again: It’s time to humanize addiction," 1 June 2018

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

7 Feb 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 \
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 \
plural stigmata\ stig-​ˈmät-​ə , ˈstig-​mət-​ə \ 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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