dignity

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English dignitee, from Old French dignite, from Latin dignitas (worthiness, merit, dignity, grandeur, authority, rank, office), from dignus (worthy, appropriate), from Proto-Indo-European *deḱ-no, from *deḱ- (to take), same source as decus (honor, esteem) and decet (it is fitting). Cognate to deign.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

dignity (plural dignities)

  1. A quality or state worthy of esteem and respect.
    • 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.
    • 2008, Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology (ECNH) [Switzerland]
      'The dignity of living beings with regard to plants: Moral consideration of plants for their own sake', 3: ... the ECNH has been expected to make proposals from an ethical perspective to concretise the constitutional term dignity of living beings with regard to plants.[1]
  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.[2]
  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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References[edit]

  1. ^ Dignity of Plants
  2. ^ Columbia World of Quotations 1996.

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