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

Not everyone agrees — particularly in a conservative town such as Dexter, where some still see stigma hanging over the family planning clinic. Stephanie Ebbert, BostonGlobe.com, "In rural Maine, family planning clinics face threat of closure," 31 Aug. 2019 Even when partners do choose vasectomy, the stigma seems to persist. Dara T. Mathis, SELF, "We Need to Stop Acting Like Vasectomies Are Heroic," 29 Aug. 2019 Cultural and social stigmas often keep people from talking about their issues and seeking help. Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, "The Upgrade: Three Mental Health Apps To Help You Live Better," 28 Aug. 2019 Beyond the financial benefits of living at home, cultural differences in the stigmas attached to staying with parents — and feelings of obligation to family — also contribute to the trend. Matt Levin, The Mercury News, "Nearly 40% of young adult Californians live with their parents. Here’s everything to know about them," 27 Aug. 2019 This angered both members of the dance community and beyond, who felt GMA was encouraging bullying and furthering the stigma for men in the dance community. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "US TV Host Apologises For Mocking Prince George's Ballet Classes," 24 Aug. 2019 For him, this stigma has its foundation in a modern attitude towards death that is shrouded in fear and secrecy, an unwillingness to stare our fate in the face. Oscar Schwartz, WIRED, "There’s a Thriving Market for Human Body Parts on Instagram," 21 Aug. 2019 Depression's stigma stopped her partner from seeking treatment. Emily Underwood, Science | AAAS, "Brain scans could help personalize treatment for people who are depressed or suicidal," 20 Aug. 2019 The money pairs with a three-part plan: Change the perception of HIV; increase access to healthcare services, mental health and stigma services; and train local leaders to become advocates. Cindy Krischer Goodman, sun-sentinel.com, "Ending HIV: National coalition brings big money to the crisis in the South," 16 Aug. 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

5 Sep 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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