Stigma, stigmas or stigmata

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Stigma is a common word, but the correct rendering of the plural form of stigma can be confusing. We will examine the definition of the words stigma, stigmas and stigmata, where these words came from, the proper plural form and some examples of these words used in sentences,

A stigma is a shameful fact, characteristic or action that is attached to a certain person, circumstance or institution. A stigma causes disgrace. In medicine, stigma refers to a visible sign of a disease. The word stigma is derived from the Latin and Greek word stigma which means a mark made by a pointed instrument. Stigmas is the most common plural form of the word stigma, which is an Anglicized version of pluralization applied to a Latin word.

A stigmata is a repetition of the supposed crucifixtion wounds of Jesus Christ on saints and other Christian mystics, derived from the Latin and Greek word stigma. The term first appears in the 1600s. Stigmata is the correct Latin plural form for the word stigma, but the word is almost never used in this manner anymore. Someone who suffers from the appearance of the stigmata is called a stigmatist.


While less serious than a felony charge, a misdemeanor conviction still carries a stigma strong enough to cause problems beyond fines and inconvenience – if uncovered, it may cause potential school and job recruiters to look in another direction. (The Chicago Tribune)

International students can work to end stigmas surrounding mental health disorders, even if they are a taboo topic at home, two Counseling and Psychological Services staff said at an event Wednesday. (The Daily Northwestern)

The Pasadena display included a finger-less glove that Pio used to cover his stigmata, wounds similar to those the faithful believe Jesus Christ suffered during his crucifixion. (The Pasadena Star-News)