Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The quality or state of being worthy of esteem or respect.
  • n. Inherent nobility and worth: the dignity of honest labor.
  • n. Poise and self-respect.
  • n. Stateliness and formality in manner and appearance.
  • n. The respect and honor associated with an important position.
  • n. A high office or rank.
  • n. The ceremonial symbols and observances attached to high office.
  • n. Archaic A dignitary.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A quality or state worthy of esteem and respect.
  • n. Decorum, formality, stateliness.
  • n. High office, rank, or station.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The state of being worthy or honorable; elevation of mind or character; true worth; excellence.
  • n. Elevation; grandeur.
  • n. Elevated rank; honorable station; high office, political or ecclesiastical; degree of excellence; preferment; exaltation.
  • n. Quality suited to inspire respect or reverence; loftiness and grace; impressiveness; stateliness; -- said of mien, manner, style, etc.
  • n. One holding high rank; a dignitary.
  • n. Fundamental principle; axiom; maxim.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of being worthy; nobleness or elevation of mind; worthiness: as, dignity of sentiments.
  • n. Elevation; honorable place or elevated rank; degree of excellence, either in estimation or in the order of nature: as, man is superior in dignity to brutes.
  • n. Elevation and repose of aspect or of deportment; nobility of mien: as, a man of native dignity; “dignity of attitude,”
  • n. Height; importance; rank.
  • n. An elevated office, civil or ecclesiastical; hereditary rank or title, or official distinction.
  • n. The rank or title of a nobleman; the right to use a title of honor, originally in virtue of an estate and accompanied by an official function.
  • n. One who holds high rank; a dignitary.
  • n. Any honor conferred; promotion.
  • n. In rhetoric, avoidance of unseemly or trivial tropes and figures.
  • n. In astrology, a situation in which a planet has an influence more powerful than usual.
  • n. A self-evident truth; an axiom.
  • n. Majesty, stateliness, gravity.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. high office or rank or station
  • n. formality in bearing and appearance
  • n. the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect

Etymologies

Middle English dignite, from Old French, from Latin dignitās, from dignus, worthy; see dek- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English dignitee, from Old French dignite, from Latin dignitas ("worthiness, merit, dignity, grandeur, authority, rank, office"), from dignus ("worthy, appropriate"), probably akin to decus ("honor, esteem") and decet ("it is fitting"). Cognate to deign. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.

    The Progressives’ Static World

  • I use the word dignity in a tongue-in-cheek way, because I realized I hadn't come far in the past 31 years when it comes to letting go of summer without wrapping my body around it and holding on for dear life.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • "She has brought the word dignity to new heights by her courage," Pelosi said.

    News - latimes.com

  • I don't need that soul if the dignity is already gone, eh?

    We Are No Stranger to the Joys of Bribery

  • He quickly gave the order to admit them, and so keen was his curiosity, despite what he called his dignity, that he got up and went forward to meet them.

    Crime d'Orcival. English

  • Kennedy also used the word "dignity" three times in his 2003 opinion throwing out the sodomy prosecution of two gay men, tantalizing liberals with the possibility that he will someday bless same-sex marriage.

    NYT > Home Page

  • The reason: a group of some 300 French protesters were aboard what they dubbed the "dignity train" carrying around 60 Tunisians who hold temporary residence papers granted by Italy.

    TIME.com: Top Stories

  • I realized that our word dignity, which encompasses so much of what's at stake, ultimately traces back to the Greek theos: our dignity is our quality of bearing God's image.

    Blog updates

  • So we have moderns like Pinker writing that "dignity" is a meaningless term when speaking of human life; and Singer resurrecting the notion of a lebensunwertes Leben, a "life unworthy of life."

    June 30th, 2009

  • Castle in Irish means country house, and all over the south and west of Ireland you may find such houses as this with doors screwed up, windows covered with planks, roofs and eaves stripped of the lead and slates which once protected them from the storms which rise up from the Atlantic, and burst in wind and rain, snow and sleet over Connemara, long ago taken away to sell by the bankrupt heirs of those who ruined themselves, mortgaged and sold every acre of ground and every stick and stone they owned to maintain what they called the dignity of their families at the Vice-Regal Court in Dublin.

    The World Peril of 1910

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