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

Definition of stigmatize

transitive verb

1a : to describe or identify in opprobrious terms
b archaic : brand
2 : to mark with stigmata

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from stigmatize

stigmatization \ ˌstig-​mə-​tə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce stigmatization (audio) \ noun

Examples of stigmatize in a Sentence

a legal system that stigmatizes juveniles as criminals

Recent Examples on the Web

Rather than providing communities with alternative strategies, many communities feel as though climate change policies further stigmatize them. Mélissa Godin, Teen Vogue, "Climate Change Is Creating a New Atmosphere of Gender Inequality for Women in Malawi," 20 Dec. 2018 Why should an extraordinarily talented teenager be stigmatized if a major corporation is willing to subsidize his team to add him to its ecosystem? Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Adidas' relationship with AAU looks sketchy, but it's just free market," 17 May 2018 But lawmakers with backing of the National Rifle Association and advocacy groups for the disabled opposed the regulation for stigmatizing them. USA TODAY, "Florida shooting rampage sparks review of mental health restrictions on gun purchases," 16 Feb. 2018 And people can be forgetful or reluctant to admit to symptoms and behavior that are stigmatized. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Symptoms of ADHD in teens linked to heavy screen time," 17 July 2018 One thing the experts all agreed on: stigmatizing the mothers for using drugs is counterproductive. Andy Marso, kansascity, "More Missouri babies being born in painful withdrawal; supporting mothers is key," 9 June 2018 Unlike genocide orphans, children of rape do not qualify for government assistance and many live in poverty and stigmatized by the community. Caterina Clerici & Eléonore Hamelin, Marie Claire, "Rwanda's Future Is Female," 1 Feb. 2019 Many public health experts oppose the practice, saying blue lights make people more likely to hurt themselves and stigmatize those in the grips of addiction. Michael Rubinkam,, "Retailers experiment with blue lights to deter drug use," 25 June 2018 Dawson’s project already seems to have encouraged others to also speculate on Paul’s possible personality disorder; fans have also been quick to criticize Dawson’s project for stigmatizing mental illness. Angela Chen, The Verge, "Why attempts to diagnose Jake Paul as a sociopath are even worse than doing it with Trump," 9 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stigmatize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of stigmatize

1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stigmatize

Statistics for stigmatize

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stigmatize

The first known use of stigmatize was in 1585

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for stigmatize



English Language Learners Definition of stigmatize

usually disapproving : to describe or regard (something, such as a characteristic or group of people) in a way that shows strong disapproval

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on stigmatize

What made you want to look up stigmatize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or proceed with twists and turns

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!