The Meaning of Stigma: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you suffer from any stigmas that affect your daily life? This article will teach you all about the meaning of stigma.

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What does it mean if something is stigmatized? This article will teach you all about the meaning of the word stigma and how to use it. It also covers other topics related to the word stigma like translations, synonyms, antonyms, and etymology!

What Does Stigma Mean?

According to Dictionary, the noun stigma refers to a marker of infamy or disgrace on a person’s reputation. The pronunciation of stigma is ˈstɪɡmə. You might also see the word stigma as its plural stigmata.

In the medical and healthcare systems, stigma refers to either a physical mark or a mental mark that is a characteristic of a certain disease. In zoology, stigma can refer to the eyespot of a protozoan, spot or pore on an animal, or the entrance to the spiracle of an insect’s respiratory system. In botany, the stigma is part of the pistil that receives pollination.

How Can Stigma Be Used in a Sentence?

You might hear stigma used in several contexts in the English language. By studying the example sentences below, you can learn how to use the word stigma in your own sentences. 

First, see if you can figure out who or what is stigmatized in each of the below sentences. Then, try to come up with example sentences containing the word stigma. 

Example #1: Crushing Stigmas

She put her life’s work into crushing the social stigma of mental illness. She knew that being straightforward about mental health and mental disorders was the best way to cure them.

Question: What is the stigma in the above sentence concerning?

Answer: The stigma in the above sentence concerns mental health.

Example #2: A Bodily Stigma

The small mark was a stigma of skin cancer. The woman thought that the distinguishing mark was just a birthmark, but her dermatologist knew it was much more than that.

Question: What is the stigma in the above sentence concerning?

Answer: The stigma in the above sentence concerns a cancerous mark.

Example #3: An Insect’s Stigma

The insect scientist studied how the stigma worked to try and replicate the respiratory system. She thought that if she understood an insect’s respiratory system, they might be able to use the science behind it to help humans.

Question: What is the stigma in the above sentence concerning?

Answer: The stigma in the above sentence concerns an insect’s respiratory system.

What Is the Etymology of Stigma?

According to Dictionary, stigma comes from the Latin and Greek stígma, meaning tattoo mark. These are the equivalent of stig and the stem of stízein, which means to tattoo. Stigma entered the English language in the late 1500s. Can you think of any other words with similar roots?

What Are Translations of Stigma?

Many more languages than just English have their own words for the word stigma. If you are traveling to another country where English is not the primary language, it can be useful to know translations of the word stigma. Using this list of translations of the word stigma from Nice Translator, you can broaden your knowledge of worldwide languages: 

  • Bulgarian: стигма
  • Bengali: কলমা
  • Marathi: स्टिग्मा
  • Hindi: कलंक
  • Polish: piętno
  • Turkish: stigma
  • Serbian: предрасуда
  • Catalan: estigma
  • Estonian: stigma
  • Finnish: stigma
  • Gujarati: કલંક
  • Arabic: وصمه عار
  • Dutch: stigma
  • Croatian: stigma
  • Vietnamese: sự kỳ thị
  • Tamil: களிமண்
  • Hebrew: סטִיגמָה
  • Italian: stigma
  • Urdu: محاصرہ
  • German: Stigma
  • Telugu: స్టిగ్మా
  • Ukrainian: стигма
  • Czech: stigma
  • Latvian: stigma
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 柱頭
  • Russian: стигма
  • Slovenian: stigma
  • Portuguese (Portugal): estigma
  • Thai: ความอัปยศ
  • Swedish: stigma
  • Basque: estigma
  • Filipino: mantsa
  • Greek: στίγμα
  • Hungarian: megbélyegzés
  • Korean: 오명
  • Welsh: stigma
  • Spanish: estigma
  • Japanese: 汚名
  • French: stigmate
  • Portuguese (Brazil): estigma
  • Chinese (PRC): 柱头
  • Lithuanian: Stigma
  • Amharic: stigma
  • Slovak: stigma
  • Kannada: ಸ್ಟೆಗ್ಮಾ
  • Malayalam: കളങ്ക

What Are Synonyms of Stigma?

Numerous words have similar definitions as stigma. However, since the word stigma has a few different potential definitions, it can be useful to know synonyms for this word. 

That way, if you are in a situation where someone does not understand what you mean by the word stigma, you can clarify using one of these synonyms from Power Thesaurus. First, see if you can figure out which of these synonyms you would use for each definition of the word stigma. 

  • bar sinister
  • birthmark
  • black eye
  • black mark
  • blemish
  • blot
  • blotch
  • blur
  • brand
  • censure
  • contempt
  • discoloration
  • discredit
  • disesteem
  • disfigurement
  • disgrace
  • dishonor
  • disrepute
  • humiliation
  • ignominy
  • ill repute
  • infamy
  • mark
  • obloquy
  • odium
  • onus
  • opprobrium
  • reproach
  • scandal
  • scar
  • shame
  • slur
  • smear
  • smirch
  • smudge
  • spot
  • stain
  • stigmata
  • stigmatization
  • taint
  • tarnish

What Are Antonyms of Stigma?

Several words also have the opposite definition as stigma. These opposites of stigma are called antonyms. If you’re looking for a word with the opposite definition of stigma, look no further than this list from Power Thesaurus!

  • acclaim
  • amour-propre
  • approbation
  • approval
  • arrogance
  • assessment
  • boast
  • choice
  • compliment
  • conceit
  • conceitedness
  • congratulate
  • consent
  • cream
  • credit
  • decency
  • delight
  • dignity
  • ego
  • egoism
  • egotism
  • esteem
  • fame
  • fifteen minutes of fame
  • flattery
  • glory
  • gratitude
  • haughtiness
  • hauteur
  • honesty
  • honor
  • hubris
  • integrity
  • interest
  • loftiness
  • open-heartedness
  • plume
  • praise
  • pride
  • pridefulness
  • renown
  • respect
  • satisfaction
  • self-admiration
  • self-esteem
  • self-importance
  • self-love
  • self-regard
  • self-respect
  • self-worth
  • smugness
  • social interaction
  • vainglory
  • vanity
  • virtue


The word stigma is a noun with several definitions. Most often, the word stigma refers to a stain on one’s reputation. Stigma in the medical industry refers to either a physical or mental marker that can be a symptom or characteristic of a disease or a defect. 

This word has several definitions in Zoology, such as a small mark on an organ or an animal. In botany, this word also has a very specific definition. Which definitions of stigma have you seen?


  1. Stigma synonyms – 979 Words and Phrases for Stigma | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Stigma antonyms – 100 Opposites of Stigma | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Stigma Definition & Meaning | 
  4. Stigma | Nice Translator