Definition of dignify in English:



[with object]
  • 1Make (something) seem worthy and impressive.

    ‘the Americans had dignified their departure with a ceremony’
    • ‘It is probably a waste of time to dignify this silliness.’
    • ‘‘That's not a question,’ he responded, refusing to dignify the boneheaded inquiry.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, this education breeds and dignifies some dangerous inclinations.’
    • ‘If theirs is a hopeless cause in pursuit of impractical ideals, why dignify them in print?’
    • ‘The guy has brought all his resources to bear to pay tribute to blue collar heroism, dignify mundane aspirations, memorialize the dead, and console the survivors.’
    • ‘But at the least, he'd stay on the sidelines, unwilling to dignify this dishonorable slime.’
    • ‘Nonetheless, I have always had some misgivings about dignifying the count at all.’
    • ‘It depends on a sense of social hierarchy that dignifies a particular group or institution - the church, the nobility, whatever - with a degree of authority.’
    • ‘When did we no longer appreciate that to dignify certain modes of behavior, manners, and ways of being with artistic representation was implicitly to glorify and promote them?’
    • ‘Confronted with such an interrogation our beloved Prime Minister would undoubtedly say that he would not dignify it with acknowledgement, let alone answers, and he would be perfectly within his rights to do so.’
    • ‘It's just that nowadays we feel the need to dignify our obsessions by passing them off as artistic or educational endeavours.’
    • ‘And by branding itself a new political movement, it dignifies powerlessness by presenting it as protest.’
    • ‘The Scottish election will confirm that there is a crisis of democracy in Britain today, in so far as nearly half of us won't even bother to get out and dignify the great devolution experiment with a vote.’
    • ‘More importantly, what sort of record label would dignify such amateurish enthusiasm by actually releasing it?’
    • ‘But what could be better than a biblical ingredient for enhancing and dignifying the material?’
    • ‘The outcome is a series of eye-catching shelters that enhance and dignify bus travel and make a strong statement in the urban environment.’
    • ‘We would rather not dignify their claims with a response, but we fear that if they are left unchallenged they may enter popular currency.’
    • ‘It ain't easy, but it ain't the Tour [and] we will not even dignify golfers in this discussion.’
    • ‘I think it's a way of dressing up and dignifying the fact that, again, they thought this would be a money spinner.’
    • ‘What's causing you to dignify it by acting as if it's a worthy endeavor rather than yet another unnecessary cash-in attempt?’
    distinguish, add distinction to, add dignity to, honour, bestow honour on, grace, adorn, exalt, enhance, add lustre to, magnify, ennoble, glorify, elevate, make lofty, aggrandize, upgrade
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Give an impressive name to (someone or something unworthy of it)
      ‘dumps are increasingly dignified as landfills’
      • ‘Could we stop dignifying its vengeance and violence as ‘rulings’?’
      • ‘The assorted weirdos (let's not dignify them with the term ‘contestants’) will be initially split into two separate groups of 12, each unaware of the others existence.’
      • ‘‘Stability’ is a fancy term to dignify laziness and complacency as sophistication.’
      • ‘But if those seeking to understand the genome through bioinformatic and evolutionary analysis had had just one fraction of a percent of the funds available to the Consortium and Celera, they might have already achieved the transformation of mere data (let us not dignify it as "knowledge") into understanding?’
      • ‘We are granted a glimpse of another world, a world that we share with the animals, who are dignified as antagonists, worshipped as totems and pursued as quarry.’
      • ‘Socialism will sacrifice these lives because it believes that to dignify a foetus with the title ‘human’ is a religious superstition.’
      • ‘Their dancing, if I can even dignify it as such, was a composite of waist twisting, arm flailing and a vaudeville-style feet shuffle.’
      • ‘Malnutrition was epidemic and medical care, if it can be dignified as such, was virtually useless in those rare instances when it was available.’
      • ‘Critics may dignify it as ‘street-smarts,’ but for most home-school parents, this kind of ‘education’ is precisely what they wish to protect their children from.’
      • ‘Doctrine aside, it seemed strange to me that he would choose the word ‘closet’ to dignify Mary; or, to put it the other way around, that something as mundane as a closet could be sanctified.’


Late Middle English: from Old French dignefier, from late Latin dignificare, from Latin dignus ‘worthy’.