Word of the Day Archive
Friday September 14, 2007
ignoble \ig-NOH-bul\ , adjective:
1. Of low birth or family; not noble; not illustrious; plebeian; common; humble.
2. Not noble in quality, character, or purpose; characterized by baseness, lowness, or meanness.
Heroes are only human. Their noble deeds inspire, as they should. Their ignoble deeds make clear that even the greatest human is no god.
-- Don Wyclif, "Dr. King's Moral Debit", New York Times, November 14, 1989
Although she returns to Ireland, Billy counts on her coming back to marry him, and when Dennis tells him she has died from pneumonia, he's shattered for life, drowning his romantic sorrow in alcohol and sliding passively toward a drunk's ignoble death.
-- Celia McGee, "Billy' captivates with quiet strength", USA Today, December 2, 1999
Ignoble derives from Latin ignobilis, from in- "not" + nobilis (Old Latin gnobilis), "noble."