ig·​no·​min·​i·​ous ˌig-nə-ˈmi-nē-əs How to pronounce ignominious (audio)
: humiliating, degrading
an ignominious defeat
: deserving of shame or infamy : despicable
: marked with or characterized by disgrace or shame : dishonorable
ignominiously adverb
ignominiousness noun

Did you know?

The "-nom-" of "ignominious" comes from "nomen," the Latin word for "name" or "repute." (It's also the root of "misnomer," "nomenclature," and "nominal," among others.) The "ig-" part of the word is akin to the negative prefix in-; when joined to the root "-nom-," it indicates the namelessness that goes with shame or dishonor. To suffer an ignominious fate is to lose the opportunity to make a name for oneself or to lose one's good name. When "ignominious" was first borrowed from a French form of the word in the 15th century, it meant "disgraced" or "dishonorable." "Ignominious" continues to have such meanings, but it also has somewhat milder meanings - "embarrassing" and "humiliating."

Examples of ignominious in a Sentence

some of his friends considered the low-level job to be an ignominious fate for the laid-off executive the prison guards degraded themselves with their inhumane, ignominious treatment of the prisoners
Recent Examples on the Web Meanwhile, several of the top competitors for the ignominious distinction of the best show not streaming have managed to find their way to one service or another. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 18 June 2024 His Reform party is meanwhile swallowing up the support of dissatisfied ex-Conservatives across Britain, dragging the ruling party into what opinion polls suggest will be an ignominious battle for second place behind runaway leader Labour. Rob Picheta, CNN, 16 June 2024 Rationalizing Western Apathy on Rwanda Alan J. Kuperman plays word games to rationalize the West’s ignominious failure to halt genocide in Rwanda, writes Alison L. Des Forges. Gail M. Gerhart, Foreign Affairs, 10 June 2024 Dom Amore: Alabama made UConn men work hard, but the Huskies are on the brink of history Purdue, a sturdy team that annually withstands the big, physical teams in the Big Ten Conference, took a much more ignominious defeat under unforgiving microscope of March. Dom Amore, Hartford Courant, 7 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for ignominious 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ignominious.' 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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of ignominious was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near ignominious

Cite this Entry

“Ignominious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignominious. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


ig·​no·​min·​i·​ous ˌig-nə-ˈmin-ē-əs How to pronounce ignominious (audio)
: causing disgrace or shame
an ignominious defeat
ignominiously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on ignominious

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