) KEY NOUN: pl. stig·ma·ta
- 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.
- A small mark; a scar or birthmark.
- Medicine A mark or characteristic indicative of a history of a disease or abnormality.
- Psychology A mark or spot on the skin that bleeds as a symptom of hysteria.
- stigmata 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.
- Biology A small mark, spot, or pore, such as the respiratory spiracle of an insect or an eyespot in certain algae.
- Botany The receptive apex of the pistil of a flower, on which pollen is deposited at pollination.
- Archaic A mark burned into the skin of a criminal or slave; a brand.
Middle English stigme
, from Latin stigma, stigmat-
, tattoo indicating slave or criminal status
, from Greek, tattoo mark
, from stizein, stig-
, to prick
; see steig-
in Indo-European rootsOTHER FORMS:stigmal(Adjective)