stig·​ma·​tize ˈstig-mə-ˌtīz How to pronounce stigmatize (audio)
stigmatized; stigmatizing; stigmatizes

transitive verb

: to describe or regard (something, such as a characteristic or group of people) in a way that shows strong disapproval
"… Academic ableism accentuates ability and stigmatizes any weakness. …"Michele Cooke
The campaign strives to educate individuals and communities about mental illness to the point where they understand it well enough not to stigmatize it, which is similar to what's happened with physical illnesses over time.MacKenzie Tastan
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and other substance use problems are considered diseases like any other, but are stigmatized as moral failure by many.Marcelo Campos
archaic : brand
: to mark with stigmata
stigmatization noun

Examples of stigmatize in a Sentence

a legal system that stigmatizes juveniles as criminals
Recent Examples on the Web Cancer was particularly stigmatized at that time in Japan, where doctors often wouldn’t even tell dying patients what was killing them. Maria Aspan, Fortune, 26 Mar. 2024 African American English and Black ASL are stigmatized. USA TODAY, 12 Mar. 2024 Within their rural, predominantly masculine culture that values stoicism and self-sufficiency, mental health and mental illness remain heavily stigmatized. Sophia Liang, The Courier-Journal, 27 Feb. 2024 Body Acne Steps Out From the Shadows Acne is a skin issue for 50 million Americans, and yet openly discussing breakouts, or asking for product recommendations, is still stigmatized, especially for blemishes on the back, chest, or butt. Hannah Baxter, Allure, 5 Mar. 2024 Our model stigmatizes the most precarious and does not respect our fundamental right to food. Kevin Shalvey, ABC News, 28 Jan. 2024 Alice Weidel, the party’s co-leader, said in a recent interview with the Financial Times that the AfD’s views were unfairly stigmatized and criticized the methods Correctiv used to infiltrate the gathering. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 23 Jan. 2024 These algorithms are designed specifically to stigmatize people like me who need medication for ADHD. Torie Bosch, STAT, 13 Jan. 2024 Flu-ification also threatens to further stigmatize long COVID. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 28 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stigmatize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Time Traveler
The first known use of stigmatize was in 1585

Dictionary Entries Near stigmatize

Cite this Entry

“Stigmatize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


stig·​ma·​tize ˈstig-mə-ˌtīz How to pronounce stigmatize (audio)
stigmatized; stigmatizing
: to mark with a stigma
especially : to describe or identify as disgraceful
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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