Definitions

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

  • n. A mark or token of infamy, disgrace, or reproach: "Party affiliation has never been more casual . . . The stigmata of decay are everywhere” ( Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.) See Synonyms at stain.
  • n. A small mark; a scar or birthmark.
  • n. Medicine A mark or characteristic indicative of a history of a disease or abnormality.
  • n. Psychology A mark or spot on the skin that bleeds as a symptom of hysteria.
  • n. Bodily marks, sores, or sensations of pain corresponding in location to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus, usually occurring during states of religious ecstasy or hysteria.
  • n. Biology A small mark, spot, or pore, such as the respiratory spiracle of an insect or an eyespot in certain algae.
  • n. Botany The receptive apex of the pistil of a flower, on which pollen is deposited at pollination.
  • n. Archaic A mark burned into the skin of a criminal or slave; a brand.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A mark of infamy or disgrace.
  • n. A scar or birthmark.
  • n. The sticky part of a flower that receives pollen during pollination.
  • n. a ligature of the Greek letters sigma and tau, (Ϛ/ϛ).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A mark made with a burning iron; a brand.
  • n. Any mark of infamy or disgrace; sign of moral blemish; stain or reproach caused by dishonorable conduct; reproachful characterization.
  • n. That part of a pistil which has no epidermis, and is fitted to receive the pollen. It is usually the terminal portion, and is commonly somewhat glutinous or viscid. See Illust. of Stamen and of Flower.
  • n. A small spot, mark, scar, or a minute hole; -- applied especially to a spot on the outer surface of a Graafian follicle, and to spots of intercellular substance in scaly epithelium, or to minute holes in such spots.
  • n. A red speck upon the skin, produced either by the extravasation of blood, as in the bloody sweat characteristic of certain varieties of religious ecstasy, or by capillary congestion, as in the case of drunkards.
  • n.
  • n. One of the external openings of the tracheæ of insects, myriapods, and other arthropods; a spiracle.
  • n. One of the apertures of the pulmonary sacs of arachnids. See Illust. of Scorpion.
  • n. One of the apertures of the gill of an ascidian, and of Amphioxus.
  • n. A point so connected by any law whatever with another point, called an index, that as the index moves in any manner in a plane the first point or stigma moves in a determinate way in the same plane.
  • n. Marks believed to have been supernaturally impressed upon the bodies of certain persons in imitation of the wounds on the crucified body of Christ. See def. 5, above.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A mark made with a red-hot iron, formerly in many countries upon criminals as a badge of infamy; a brand impressed on slaves and others.
  • n. Any mark of infamy, slur, or disgrace which attaches to a person on account of evil conduct.
  • n. In anatomy and zoology, a mark; a marked point or place: variously applied to marks of color, as a spot, and to many different pores or small holes.
  • n. A place or point on the skin which bleeds periodically or at irregular intervals during some mental states. The spontaneous appearance of stigmata was formerly regarded super-stitiously.
  • n. plural In the Roman Catholic Church, marks said to have been supernaturally impressed upon the bodies of certain persons in imitation of the wounds on the crucified body of Christ.
  • n. In botany, a modified part of the style or, when that is wanting, of the surface of the ovary, which in impregnation receives the pollen.
  • n. In Greek grammar and paleography, a ligature (ς) still sometimes used for στ (st), and also used as a numeral .
  • n. In geometry, a point so connected with another, called the index, that motion of the index in a plane through their join causes definite motion of the stigma in this plane.

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

  • n. a skin lesion that is a diagnostic sign of some disease
  • n. an external tracheal aperture in a terrestrial arthropod
  • n. the apical end of the style where deposited pollen enters the pistil
  • n. a symbol of disgrace or infamy

Etymologies

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

Middle English stigme, brand, from Latin stigma, stigmat-, tattoo indicating slave or criminal status, from Greek, tattoo mark, from stizein, stig-, to prick.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin stigma, from Ancient Greek στίγμα (stigma, "brand"), from στίζω (stizō, "I mark")

Examples

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  • "5. A red speck upon the skin, produced either by the extravasation of blood, as in the bloody sweat characteristic of certain varieties of religious ecstasy, or by capillary congestion, as in the case of drunkards." --CD&C

    October 19, 2011