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[dig-ni-ter-ee] /ˈdɪg nɪˌtɛr i/
noun, plural dignitaries.
a person who holds a high rank or office, as in the government or church.
Origin of dignitary
First recorded in 1665-75; dignit(y) + -ary
Related forms
[dig-ni-tair-ee-uh l] /ˌdɪg nɪˈtɛər i əl/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for dignitary
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But what dignitary is this crossing from the other side to greet the governor?

    Main Street Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • He passed the knife on to the dignitary who stood behind his chair.

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
  • His grandfather (I think) was a dignitary of a kind, the Syndic of the Pilots.

    Some Reminiscences Joseph Conrad
  • A dignitary, as you call it, is not to see his child robbed of her rights.

    Is He Popenjoy?

    Anthony Trollope
  • No ordinary King's messenger, then, but some dignitary of the Court.

    Long Live the King Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • And the dignitary had a chance to go away and get his dinner.

    Long Live the King Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • This dignitary was astonished at the new and uncommon decoration.

  • In some cases they imply that the bearer was in the employment of the dignitary.

  • "Hate to be a dignitary in all this heat," Amos said, unenviously.

    Mr. Wicker's Window Carley Dawson
British Dictionary definitions for dignitary


/ˈdɪɡnɪtərɪ; -trɪ/
noun (pl) -taries
a person of high official position or rank, esp in government or the church
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dignitary

1670s; see dignity + -ary. Related: Dignitaries (plural).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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