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
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?

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 likelihood of binge eating during the pandemic was almost three times higher for people who had experienced weight stigma before the pandemic than those who hadn’t. Jayne O'donnell, USA TODAY, "The kids aren't alright: COVID-fueled stress eating, inequities, lack of fitness expected to boost obesity, experts say," 14 Oct. 2020 Despite the decline, Morris said the ticketing problems of the past created a stigma about Pine Lake that won't soon be forgotten — no matter who is leading the city today. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, "Documentary reveals how a small Georgia city's history of overpolicing belies its liberal image," 8 Oct. 2020 The goal of Mental Health Awareness Week is to erase the stigma and get people to talk about their mental health problems without fear of judgment. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Erase the stigma of mental health issues," 8 Oct. 2020 The daughter, now recovered after a mild bout with the disease, didn’t want her mom using their names out of concern for the stigma that can come with making an embarrassing mistake. oregonlive, "UO struggles with alarming surge in COVID-19 cases, as Oregon’s largest universities reopen," 7 Oct. 2020 Today, Jex sees that stigma as ridiculous and dangerous. The Salt Lake Tribune, "© Copyright 2018 The Salt Lake Tribune. Reporting by Matt Canham. Photos and video by Scott Sommerdorf. Editing by Sheila R. McCann, with assistance from Dan Harrie, David Noyce, Catherine Reese Newton and Nick Parker. Page design by Amy Lewis Davis.," 6 Oct. 2020 The goal is to end the stigma related to seeking mental help and promoting academic and personal success through a healthy, powerful mind. Keith Jenkins, The Enquirer, "UC Bearcats Notebook: No. 11 Cincinnati looks to take it 'to the next level' after bye," 6 Oct. 2020 Further, the stigma surrounding aid-seekers needs to be eliminated. NBC News, "This is what hunger looks like in COVID-19 America," 6 Oct. 2020 The library partnered with the national organization Black Girl Health, a network that helps Black women optimize health through various campaigns, to provide resources and to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health among women of color. Sarah Ravits, NOLA.com, "New Orleans Public Library hosts free, virtual event focused on Black women’s mental health," 6 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for stigma

Time Traveler

The first known use of stigma was circa 1593

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Statistics for stigma

Last Updated

18 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Stigma.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stigma. Accessed 19 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for stigma

stigma

noun
How to pronounce stigma (audio)

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
3 : a small spot, scar, or opening on a plant or animal

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