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."

Example Sentences

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 Tennessee took a second loss — and in ignominious fashion — to drop from the ranks of playoff contenders. Nathan Baird, cleveland, 19 Nov. 2022 These are ten of the most unpleasant, ignominious, and terrifying ways to go. Peter Stark, Outside Online, 25 June 2013 The final note on his outing – a 113.6 mph double from Bryce Harper — was as ignominious as the rest. Theo Mackie, The Arizona Republic, 2 Sep. 2022 The damage to the Nord Stream pipelines may spell an ignominious end for the 25-year project, at least for the near future. Rob Picheta, CNN, 28 Sep. 2022 The last Power 5 school to achieve that ignominious feat was ... Tim Reynolds, ajc, 24 Sep. 2022 But in another disappointment for de Armas, the film was something of a disaster, receiving poor reviews and an ignominious dump on streaming. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 22 Sep. 2022 Her acknowledgment of guilt marks an ignominious end to a decades-long career. Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, 15 Sep. 2022 However, the last 26 times a new head coach took over a group suffering that ignominious fate, the team went on to cover over 60% of the coach’s first six games when listed as an underdog. Xl Media, cleveland, 8 Sep. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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 6 Dec. 2022.

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

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