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[ig-noh-buh l] /ɪgˈnoʊ bəl/
of low character, aims, etc.; mean; base:
his ignoble purposes.
of low grade or quality; inferior.
not noble; of humble descent or rank.
Falconry. noting any hawk with short wings that chases or rakes after the quarry.
Origin of ignoble
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin ignōbilis unknown, inglorious, equivalent to in- in-3 + OL gnōbilis (Latin nōbilis) noble
Related forms
ignobility, ignobleness, noun
ignobly, adverb
1. degraded, dishonorable, ignominious, contemptible. 3. lowly, obscure, plebeian, peasant.
1. honorable. 2. superior. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ignoble
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Wrens and sparrows are not too ignoble a quarry for this villainous gos-hawk!

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • I remained there, amazed and confused by the insolence of this ignoble brute.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • And vulgar, ignoble farce was turned into a great historical drama.

  • We were agreed that parents should rule their children, the elder the younger, the noble the ignoble.

    Laws Plato
  • It may be an ignoble thing to lie, but with what other weapon was I to fight this brigand?

    The Shame of Motley Raphael Sabatini
  • Rich or poor, high or low, noble or ignoble, thou only hast my heart.

    Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer Cyrus Townsend Brady
British Dictionary definitions for ignoble


dishonourable; base; despicable
of low birth or origins; humble; common
of low quality; inferior
  1. designating short-winged hawks that capture their quarry by swiftness and adroitness of flight Compare noble (sense 7)
  2. designating quarry which is inferior or unworthy of pursuit by a particular species of hawk or falcon
Derived Forms
ignobility, ignobleness, noun
ignobly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin ignōbilis, from in-1 + Old Latin gnōbilisnoble
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 ignoble

mid-15c., "of low birth," from Middle French ignoble, from Latin ignobilis "unknown, undistinguished, obscure; of base birth, not noble," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + gnobilis "well-known, famous, renowned, of superior birth" (see noble). Related: Ignobly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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