Word of the Day: Stigma

By Daniel Scocco

Stigma (stĭg’mə) is a scar or mark. Often times said mark has a negative connotation, as in a mark of disgrace and infamy. In ancient times, for instance, slaves and criminals used to get stigmas marked on their skins with burning iron. The plural of this noun can also be stigmata.

Overweight children are stigmatized by their peers as early as age 3 and even face bias from their parents and teachers, giving them a quality of life comparable to people with cancer, a new analysis concludes. (USA Today)

Web companies have shaken off the stigma associated with the Nasdaq crash of 2000 and are attracting big buyers from both the on- and offline worlds. (Business Week)

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1 Response to “Word of the Day: Stigma”

  • Alex

    About the plural thing…

    As I was reading your article he first time I saw the ‘stigmas’ form and immediately I corrected mentally ‘stigmata’. The problem is that I was thinking about this issue just yesterday, and how so many people stick to the original plural form of foreign words without understanding why. The ‘English’ plural forms are often seen as incorrect or uneducated, but I think they have their validity. In German, we have he words Hobby and Baby, and their plurals are ‘Hobbys’ and ‘Babys’, as we don’t have the -y to -ies rule. Sure, for any English speaker it looks horrible, but it’s fully OK for us. But we still say normally ‘Kommata’ instead of ‘Kommas’ (German for comma).

    BTW, I think many people will associate the word stigmata with the holes left by the nails on the hands and feet of Jesus after the crucification (just a ref so short before Easter).

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