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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 ignobly
Historical Examples
  • Certainly no man ever fell so ignobly, and by such ignoble instruments, as I did.

    De Profundis Oscar Wilde
  • Never was warrior so ignobly driven or dragged from a field of victory.

    Watch Yourself Go By Al. G. Field
  • I have said that Gilroy's parting warning rankled in his breast, but not ignobly.

  • And not only has it failed in its management, but it has failed deplorably, ignobly, horribly.

  • I was born to the position, but I served you proudly, not ignobly.

    Robert Tournay William Sage
  • I tried to acquire the accomplishment once, and ignobly failed.

    Romantic Spain John Augustus O'Shea
  • Why should he not do nobly that which journalists did ignobly and without principle?

  • Yet was he tempted, not ignobly, but by reason of his love for her.

  • What I really aim at is an absolute realism in the sphere of the ignobly decent.

    New Grub Street George Gissing
  • Broken thus in fortune and honour, Mr. Dombey yet falls not ignobly.

    Life of Charles Dickens

    Frank Marzials
British Dictionary definitions for ignobly


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 ignobly



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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