Definitions

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

  • adj. Not noble in quality, character, or purpose; base or mean. See Synonyms at mean2.
  • adj. Not of the nobility; common.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Not noble; plebeian; common.
  • adj. Not honorable.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of low birth or family; not noble; not illustrious; plebeian; common; humble.
  • adj. Not honorable, elevated, or generous; base.
  • adj. Not a true or noble falcon; -- said of certain hawks, as the goshawk.
  • transitive v. To make ignoble.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not noble; not illustrious; of low birth or station.
  • Not honorable or worthy; mean in character or quality; of no consideration or value.
  • In some technical uses, lacking distinction; of low grade; of little esteem.
  • To make ignoble or vile; degrade; disgrace; bring into disrepute.

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

  • adj. not of the nobility
  • adj. completely lacking nobility in character or quality or purpose

Etymologies

Middle English, of low birth, from Old French, from Latin ignōbilis : i-, in-, not; see in-1 + nōbilis, gnōbilis, noble; see noble.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin ignobilis, from in- (not) + gnobilis, later nobilis (noble) (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He was highly vilified by foes and Nigerians in general for what they described as ignoble acts that questioned his credibility and brought disrespect to his office.

    Thisday Online

  • Even the name of the award, a play on the word "ignoble," is meant to be deprecating.

    Announcing the Year’s Winners of the IgNobel Prize | Impact Lab

  • "If I use my discrimination, father, I call ignoble what my father calls natural."

    The Bride of Dreams

  • Flaubert has said that "the ignoble is the sublime of the lower slope."

    Promenades of an Impressionist

  • The heart, which is supposed to be the noble part of man, has the same form as the penis, which is the so-called ignoble part of man.

    Là-bas

  • Paaker's was, in fact, an ignoble, that is to say, a selfish nature; to shorten his road he trod down flowers as readily as he marched over the sand of the desert.

    Uarda : a Romance of Ancient Egypt — Volume 07

  • The noble man is the gifted man; the ignoble is the ungifted; and therefore we have only to state a simple law in simple language to have a full solution of the enigma of Reineke.

    Short Studies on Great Subjects

  • Such cult of the common and the ignoble is the more prejudicial because it "wars against all distinction and against the sense of elevation to be gained by respecting and admiring superiority."

    Arabian nights. English

  • You've betrayed your fellow liberals to settle a political score, Senator -- in order to exact some kind of ignoble payback against your former party, against your caucus and against the netroots for merely calling you out on your literal and figurative smooching of the president.

    Bob Cesca: An Open Letter To Joe Lieberman

  • Al Gore joins a long list of past "ignoble" recipients like warrior presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and supporter of rogue regimes Jimmy Carter.

    Nobel Hypocrisy

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