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[ig-noh-buh l] /ɪgˈnoʊ bəl/
of low character, aims, etc.; mean; base:
his ignoble purposes.
of low grade or quality; inferior.
not noble; of humble descent or rank.
Falconry. noting any hawk with short wings that chases or rakes after the quarry.
Origin of ignoble
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin ignōbilis unknown, inglorious, equivalent to in- in-3 + OL gnōbilis (Latin nōbilis) noble
Related forms
ignobility, ignobleness, noun
ignobly, adverb
1. degraded, dishonorable, ignominious, contemptible. 3. lowly, obscure, plebeian, peasant.
1. honorable. 2. superior. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ignoble
  • ignoble, utilitarian outbuildings hidden in backyard corners have given way to something so much better-and much more fun.
  • Somewhere beyond the curtain of the fifth act lies a world more stable and sane, less petty and less murderous and less ignoble.
  • Certainly that ignoble fate will never befall their work.
  • There's beneath even the noblest novel a certain ignoble carpentry that one's would-be saintly self resents.
  • The ignoble posture one observes so frequently in them puzzles.
  • Yet this misnamed act is dubious in theory, cruel in its potential practice and ignoble in its election-year expediency.
  • Such restrictions have often played an ignoble, supporting role in the history of famine.
  • In both cases, it is alleged, the ignoble search for profit distorts and corrupts.
  • Every democracy has to guard against those who would hijack its freedoms for ignoble ends.
  • When that mail is unwanted, it's an ignoble fate for a tree.
British Dictionary definitions for ignoble


dishonourable; base; despicable
of low birth or origins; humble; common
of low quality; inferior
  1. designating short-winged hawks that capture their quarry by swiftness and adroitness of flight Compare noble (sense 7)
  2. designating quarry which is inferior or unworthy of pursuit by a particular species of hawk or falcon
Derived Forms
ignobility, ignobleness, noun
ignobly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin ignōbilis, from in-1 + Old Latin gnōbilisnoble
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ignoble

mid-15c., "of low birth," from Middle French ignoble, from Latin ignobilis "unknown, undistinguished, obscure; of base birth, not noble," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + gnobilis "well-known, famous, renowned, of superior birth" (see noble). Related: Ignobly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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