Definition of stigma in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈstiɡmə/

noun (plural stigmas or especially in sense 2 stigmata /stiɡˈmätə/ /ˈstiɡmətə/)

1A mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person: the stigma of having gone to prison will always be with me debt has lost its stigma and is now a part of everyday life
More example sentences
  • There is no longer any social stigma attached to soft drug use, and the statistics bear this out.
  • The aim is to remove the social stigma attached to the disease.
  • Flynn says that she and the team were determined to remove the stigma attached to working away from the office.
2 (stigmata) (In Christian tradition) marks corresponding to those left on Jesus' body by the Crucifixion, said to have been impressed by divine favor on the bodies of St. Francis of Assisi and others.
Example sentences
  • He had long ago sought out and met Father Pio de Pietraicina, the Italian Capuchin monk who suffered the stigmata of Christ's crucifixion.
  • On September 20, 1918 five wounds, which he claimed were sent from God as the stigmata of Christ, appeared on his body, which if genuine, made him the first and only stigmatized priest in the history of Roman Church.
  • Impossible to hide, Padre Pio's stigmata put him in the public eye and made him a center of controversy.
3 Medicine A visible sign or characteristic of a disease.
Example sentences
  • On examination, she was not icteric, and there were no stigmata of chronic liver disease.
  • There were no stigmata of liver disease or oral telangiectasias.
  • Liver function test results were within normal limits, and no other stigmata of alcoholic liver disease were present.
3.1A mark or spot on the skin.
Example sentences
  • The data in this prospective study reveal that simple midline dimples are the most common dorsal cutaneous stigmata in neonates and pose an extremely low risk for sacral dysraphism.
4 Botany (In a flower) the part of a pistil that receives the pollen during pollination.
Example sentences
  • Cotton swabs were used to apply the pollen to receptive stigmas on a mother plant.
  • Pollinations were performed in June by applying the cotton stick loaded with pollen on the receptive stigmas.
  • A given pollen grain blowing in the wind is thus unlikely to land on a receptive stigma.


Late 16th century (denoting a mark made by pricking or branding): via Latin from Greek stigma 'a mark made by a pointed instrument, a dot'; related to stick1.

Words that rhyme with stigma

enigma, sigma

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: stig·ma

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Related Words