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 : 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 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

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 But by the end of the 18th century, stripes had shed their stigma. Katharine K. Zarrella, WSJ, "To Make Stripes Feel Fresh, Layer Them Wantonly," 31 Jan. 2019 The Duchess, who has publicly spoken out about mental health a number of times, previously wrote an op-ed in Huffington Post UK about the importance of ending its stigma among children and adults. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Wears an Emilia Wickstead Dress to the Global Mental Health Summit with Prince William," 9 Oct. 2018 Everyone else is busy getting tested for STDs and freaking out about it, which, way to spread stigma. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Every Single Episode of Gossip Girl, Ranked," 19 Sep. 2018 SUVs with three rows of seats are picking up some of the family-wagon stigma that drained all the cool out of minivans. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Why shoppers will want the all-new 2019 Chevy Blazer," 21 June 2018 Baz Dreisinger, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said felons have few options after leaving prison because of the stigma attached to their convictions. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "‘I Thought I Was Done For’: Tight Job Market Opens Doors for Ex-Convicts," 19 Dec. 2018 His remarks contained a number of false statements and dangerous rhetoric that only increases the stigma and confusion around reproductive rights. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "What President Trump Got Wrong About Abortion in His State of the Union Address," 6 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

21 Mar 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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