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

Previously, there was a stigma associated with wearing secondhand clothing, Ms. Hyman, of Rent the Runway, said. Sapna Maheshwari, New York Times, "They See It. They Like It. They Want It. They Rent It.," 8 June 2019 The Tragedy of Mariam makes clear that there was no stigma attached to a woman writing or publishing a play. James Shapiro, The Atlantic, "Shakespeare Wrote Insightfully About Women. That Doesn’t Mean He Was One.," 8 June 2019 There's been a stigma for a long time that guys aren’t supposed to show their emotions. Jon Patrick Hatcher, Good Housekeeping, "If You Want to Know What's Really Going on in Boys' Heads, Ask Their BFFs," 30 Apr. 2019 Although there is still a pervasive stigma surrounding body hair, especially for women and femmes, Bella, Julia, and Madonna are all examples of the fact that the natural state of our bodies is nothing to be ashamed of. Isabella Gomez, Teen Vogue, "Bella Thorne Posts Photos of Julia Roberts and Madonna Rocking Armpit Hair," 18 Nov. 2018 In Stewart’s office the two talked of how to cope with the stigma of prison, and how to make a new life. Town & Country, "Mary Boone Is Taking a Break," 18 Apr. 2019 Poole uses her work to evolve the narrative surrounding the industry, challenging stereotypes and stigmas, and repositioning cannabis as a facet of people’s lives, not a defining characteristic. Mosha Lundström Halbert, Vogue, "The Cool Girl’s Guide to Toronto," 27 Dec. 2018 That was, after all, the whole point of the profile — not to promote salacious gossip but to take away some of that stigma. Kaylen Ralph, Teen Vogue, "Bear Creek High School Administrators Tried to Shut Down Student Newspaper's Article About a Classmate Who Does Porn," 3 May 2019 But in spite of its prevalence, there still exists a tremendous amount of stigma associated with mental health conditions. Carolyn Kylstra, SELF, "Mental Health Awareness Means Talking About All Types of Mental Illness," 29 Mar. 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

13 Jun 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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