Ignominious vs ignoble

Ignominious and ignoble are two words that are sometimes confused. We will examine the differing definitions of ignominious and ignoble, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Ignominious describes something or someone who deserves disgrace or dishonor. Something or someone who is ignominious receives a deserved public shaming or embarrassment. The word ignominious is derived from the Latin word ignominiosus which means shameful. Related words are ignominiously and ignominiousness.

Ignoble means of humble birth, from common or lower class origins. Ignoble may also mean dishonorable, despicable, inferior. The word ignoble is unsurprisingly derived from the Latin word ignobilis, which means obscure, undistinguished, unknown, not noble, common. Strictly speaking, most people could be described as being of ignoble or non-aristocratic origins, but the term is currently most often used to describe someone born into poverty, or something that is dishonorable or inferior. Related words are ignobility, ignobleness, ignobly.


“This is an ignominious situation which I have never found myself in before and will not lend myself to ever again,” Hermes wrote. (The Art Newspaper)

McLennan’s quest to make it to the NJCAA World Series may have come to an ignominious end in the sixth inning of the first game against Cisco in Grand Prairie. (The Waco Tribune)

Mass firings in the Civil Service have been conducted and thousands of Bahamians have entered the ignoble ranks of the unemployed. (The Bahama Tribune)

The leader of the delegation, Chief Okey Ikoro, who addressed journalists after the meeting, said, “We the stakeholders of the APC dissociate ourselves and the Imo State chapter of the APC from the ignoble policies and programmes of the Owelle Rochas Okorocha-led administration which are viewed as anti-people, unpopular and retrogressive.” (The Punch)



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