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EtymologyEdit

From Middle English dignitee, from Old French dignite, from Latin dīgnitās (worthiness, merit, dignity, grandeur, authority, rank, office), from dīgnus (worthy, appropriate), from Proto-Italic *degnos, from Proto-Indo-European *dḱ-nos, from *deḱ- (to take). See also decus (honor, esteem) and decet (it is fitting). Cognate to deign.

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

dignity (countable and uncountable, plural dignities)

  1. The state of being dignified or worthy of esteem: elevation of mind or character.
    • 1752, Henry Fielding, Amelia, I. viii
      He uttered this ... with great majesty, or, as he called it, dignity.
    • 1981, African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, art. 5
      Every individual shall have the right to the respect of the dignity inherent in a human being.
  2. Decorum, formality, stateliness.
    • 1934, Aldous Huxley, "Puerto Barrios", in Beyond the Mexique Bay:
      Official DIGNITY tends to increase in inverse ratio to the importance of the country in which the office is held.
  3. High office, rank, or station.
    • 1781, Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, F. III. 231:
      He ... distributed the civil and military dignities among his favourites and followers.
    • Macaulay
      And the king said, What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this?
  4. One holding high rank; a dignitary.
    • Bible, Jude 8.
      These filthy dreamers [] speak evil of dignities.
  5. (obsolete) Fundamental principle; axiom; maxim.
    • Sir Thomas Browne
      Sciences concluding from dignities, and principles known by themselves.

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