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Ignominy

Definition: public shame, disgrace

Pronunciation: eg-NO-mi-ni

Origin

Ignominy, first recorded in the English language in the early 15th century, stems from the middle French ignominyeux, or directly from the Latin ignominiosus, meaning shame or disgrace. The original Latin term is composed of ‘in’ meaning ‘not’ or ‘opposite to’ and ‘nomen’ meaning name thus as a noun it refers to one contradicting the name given to him, or that he bears. Highly perceptive readers may question the ‘g’ the does not seem to appear to in the original terms; the ‘g’ is a remaining of the initial influence to the word- the Latin gnoscere which means ‘to come to know’. Altogether, this noun comes to represent individuals who act bluntly against their publicly known or hoped for figures.

Why this word?

Because I need a word stronger than ‘shame’ or ‘disgrace’ to portray this morning’s happenstance!

For over a week now, we had a running pipe at the entrance to our building. Thinking, that the waste of water is a shame in a country as dry as Israel (and the fact that we pay for these freely running waters!), I called Tel Aviv Municipality and asked them to send someone over to take care of the pipe. 20 minutes later, while sitting on the porch I hear a car drive in and when I look I see that these are indeed the municipality representatives! Amazed by their timely arrival, I began putting my shoes on to go downstairs when a different water-running sound puzzled me. Looking outside and downstairs again, I find the municipality representative PEEING INTO OUR ARAGE! When I came downstairs to tell him everything I thought of him and his behavior, it turned out that the peeing guy was the representative’s son, and thus representative of nothing as for himself. His father failed to understand what it is that I’m making all the fuss about and told me the pipe is privately owned and that they could do nothing about it. I told him his son’s pipe is also privately owned, and thus should not be leaking INTO OUR GARAGE, which is also privately owned!

Shame and disgrace do not do this occasion justice. Ignominy however, does.

How to use ignominy in a sentence?

Next time you expect someone to be respectful and respecting by the mere fact of him belonging to a respectful entity, and your expectations are not met- that is a classic case of ignominy.

“The council’s representative contributed to the council’s ignominy by having yet another public affair\by peeing into a privately owned garage”

“Don’t endure ignominy when you have the ability to stop it”.

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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for UnusedWords.com. Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.

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