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From Middle English dignyte, from Old French dignité, 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. Doublet of dainty.


  • IPA(key): /ˈdɪɡnɪti/
  • (file)


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.
  4. One holding high rank; a dignitary.
  5. (obsolete) Fundamental principle; axiom; maxim.


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