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[stig-muh] /ˈstɪg mə/
noun, plural stigmata
[stig-muh-tuh, stig-mah-tuh, -mat-uh] /ˈstɪg mə tə, stɪgˈmɑ tə, -ˈmæt ə/ (Show IPA),
a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one's reputation.
  1. a mental or physical mark that is characteristic of a defect or disease:
    the stigmata of leprosy.
  2. a place or point on the skin that bleeds during certain mental states, as in hysteria.
  1. a small mark, spot, or pore on an animal or organ.
  2. the eyespot of a protozoan.
  3. an entrance into the respiratory system of insects.
Botany. the part of a pistil that receives the pollen.
stigmata, marks resembling the wounds of the crucified body of Christ, said to be supernaturally impressed on the bodies of certain persons, especially nuns, tertiaries, and monastics.
Archaic. a mark made by a branding iron on the skin of a criminal or slave.
Origin of stigma
1580-90; < Latin < Greek stígma tattoo mark, equivalent to stig- (stem of stízein to tattoo) + -ma noun suffix denoting result of action; see stick2
1. blot, blemish, tarnish. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for stigma
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Had Hamish been making this use of it—to remove the stigma from him?

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • Sooner or later the stigma will spread to all of the sciences—and to you, doctor.

    Now We Are Three Joe L. Hensley
  • The stigma, if pollen suffice, should be covered with pollen.

  • To be attached to our Administration is almost a stigma of disreputableness.

    The Soul of a People H. Fielding
  • On which part should the stigma of illiteracy set the uglier brand?

British Dictionary definitions for stigma


noun (pl) stigmas, (for sense 7) stigmata (ˈstɪɡmətə; stɪɡˈmɑːtə)
a distinguishing mark of social disgrace: the stigma of having been in prison
a small scar or mark such as a birthmark
  1. any mark on the skin, such as one characteristic of a specific disease
  2. any sign of a mental deficiency or emotional upset
(botany) the receptive surface of a carpel, where deposited pollen germinates
  1. a pigmented eyespot in some protozoans and other invertebrates
  2. the spiracle of an insect
(archaic) a mark branded on the skin
(pl) (Christianity) marks resembling the wounds of the crucified Christ, believed to appear on the bodies of certain individuals
Word Origin
C16: via Latin from Greek: brand, from stizein to tattoo
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 stigma

1590s, "mark made on skin by burning with a hot iron," from Latin stigma (plural stigmata), from Greek stigma (genitive stigmatos) "mark, puncture," especially one made by a pointed instrument, from root of stizein "to mark, tattoo," from PIE *st(e)ig- (see stick (v.)). Figurative meaning "a mark of disgrace" is from 1610s. Stigmas "marks resembling the wounds on the body of Christ, appearing supernaturally on the bodies of the devout" is from 1630s; earlier stigmate (late 14c.), from Latin stigmata.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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stigma in Medicine

stigma stig·ma (stĭg'mə)
n. pl. stig·mas or stig·ma·ta (stĭg-mä'tə, -māt'ə, stĭg'mə-)

  1. Visible evidence of a disease.

  2. A spot or blemish on the skin.

  3. A bleeding spot on the skin considered as a manifestation of conversion disorder.

  4. The orange pigmented eyespot of certain chlorophyll-bearing protozoa, such as Euglena viridis. It serves as a light filter by absorbing certain wavelengths.

  5. A mark of shame or discredit.

  6. Follicular stigma.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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stigma in Science
The sticky tip of a flower pistil, on which pollen is deposited at the beginning of pollination. See more at flower.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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