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  1. of low character, aims, etc.; mean; base: his ignoble purposes.
  2. of low grade or quality; inferior.
  3. not noble; of humble descent or rank.
  4. Falconry. noting any hawk with short wings that chases or rakes after the quarry.

Origin of ignoble

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin ignōbilis unknown, inglorious, equivalent to in- in-3 + OL gnōbilis (Latin nōbilis) noble
Related formsig·no·bil·i·ty, ig·no·ble·ness, nounig·no·bly, adverb

Synonyms for ignoble

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Antonyms for ignoble

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ignoble

Contemporary Examples of ignoble

Historical Examples of ignoble

  • 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.



  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for ignoble


  1. dishonourable; base; despicable
  2. of low birth or origins; humble; common
  3. of low quality; inferior
  4. falconry
    1. designating short-winged hawks that capture their quarry by swiftness and adroitness of flightCompare noble (def. 7)
    2. designating quarry which is inferior or unworthy of pursuit by a particular species of hawk or falcon
Derived Formsignobility or ignobleness, nounignobly, adverb

Word Origin for ignoble

C16: from Latin ignōbilis, from in- 1 + Old Latin gnōbilis noble
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

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