Definition of stigma in English:



  • 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’
    • ‘Although gay men and lesbians face similar societal stigma, their respective experiences are very different.’
    • ‘Information was not available on stress or on the stigma of single motherhood referred to in other studies.’
    • ‘And that has done more than anything else to reduce the stigma of this disease in many countries.’
    • ‘The aim is to remove the social stigma attached to the disease.’
    • ‘The latter approach could help diminish the social stigma associated with the disabled in Russia, she said.’
    • ‘The stigma of failure does not apply to such men.’
    • ‘The only effective way to avoid the stigma altogether is to embrace abstinence prior to marriage.’
    • ‘Nurses who have substance abuse problems, therefore, carry the stigma associated with this breach in professionalism.’
    • ‘You'd eliminate the vote splitting and erase the stigma surrounding both parties.’
    • ‘Diseases of the brain have always carried a social and cultural stigma.’
    • ‘There is no longer any social stigma attached to soft drug use, and the statistics bear this out.’
    • ‘The perceived stigma of being a domestic violence victim is also a factor.’
    • ‘She hoped the report would raise awareness and begin to reduce the stigma surrounding the children.’
    • ‘For generations, people who suffer with mental illnesses have had to endure a terrible stigma.’
    • ‘They all found it hard to shake the stigma of failure.’
    • ‘Flynn says that she and the team were determined to remove the stigma attached to working away from the office.’
    • ‘Additionally it reinforces the negative stigmas of mental illness by manifesting them physically.’
    • ‘There is a negative stigma attached to some of these government housing projects.’
    • ‘The stigma of illegitimacy is getting less strong.’
    • ‘They said the stigma of mental illness had declined and that empathy was high.’
    shame, disgrace, dishonour
    stain, taint, blot, blot on one's escutcheon, blemish, brand, mark, slur
    View synonyms
  • 2(in Christian tradition) marks corresponding to those left on Christ's body by the Crucifixion, said to have been impressed by divine favour on the bodies of St Francis of Assisi and others.

    • ‘He collected accounts of frogs and other strange objects raining from the sky, UFOs, ghosts, spontaneous human combustion, the stigmata, psychic abilities, etc.’
    • ‘Padre Pio, the priest who suffered from stigmata comparable to those suffered by Jesus Christ in His Crucifixion, became an object of special identification to that little girl's family.’
    • ‘The two scenes of the third act - the gift of the stigmata and the saint's death and resurrection - summarize the themes of the first two acts and complete their arguments.’
    • ‘Furthermore, mystical experience has no intrinsic or necessary connection to such things as raptures, ecstasies, locutions, stigmata, elevations and the other things that appear in mystical literature.’
    • ‘If asked how it is possible for her to have the stigmata and be a pious fraud, the answer is that she does not truly suffer inexplicable wounds.’
    • ‘In it Hansen presents a delicately balanced narrative of a teenaged postulant who receives the stigmata, to the consternation and even embarrassment of her religious community.’
    • ‘Similarly, his image of St. Francis conveys the saint's swooning spirituality with all the appropriate trappings - halo, monastic robe, stigmata and the animals to which he preached.’
    • ‘Like her medieval predecessors, she received the stigmata, the mark of Christ's wounds.’
    • ‘Impossible to hide, Padre Pio's stigmata put him in the public eye and made him a center of controversy.’
    • ‘The individuals who experienced stigmata were those who prayed deeply and linked themselves apathetically to the suffering of mankind.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These are joined by meditations on the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador, the Eucharist, the prayer Anima Christi, and the stigmata.’
    • ‘Third, Martin starts literally from the back of the book - with Francis's death, blindness, and stigmata coming first.’
    • ‘Then there is light, and a discarded shroud, and a risen Christ bearing the stigmata leaves the tomb.’
    • ‘While dressing for the performance of their ‘mystery’, the monks playing the Madwoman, the Ferryman and the Traveller are daubed with Christ's stigmata.’
    • ‘She first exhibited stigmata during Easter of 1992, having previously received visions of Jesus.’
    • ‘Johnson's film also contains at least one decent surprise, a nice line in black humour, and looks very stylish throughout, while being laden with religious imagery - referring to the crucifixion and the stigmata on several occasions.’
    • ‘Why do you think you've been experiencing the stigmata?’
    • ‘Religious portraits of stigmata are not accurate when they show wounds in the palm of the hands.’
  • 3Medicine
    A visible sign or characteristic of a disease.

    ‘knee deformities or other stigmata of childhood rickets’
    • ‘On examination, she was not icteric, and there were no stigmata of chronic liver disease.’
    • ‘The patient did not have stigmata of other autoimmune diseases, and her blood glucose level was within normal limits.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 3.1A mark or spot on the skin.
      • ‘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.’
  • 4Botany
    (in a flower) the part of a pistil that receives the pollen during pollination.

    • ‘Anthers from one flower were removed and stroked over the stigmas of the other flower.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Stigmas of flowers in all treatments were pollinated at the female phase.’
    • ‘Cotton swabs were used to apply the pollen to receptive stigmas on a mother plant.’


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 stick.