What is “ignominy?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

We locate it a solitary time in the King James Bible, Proverbs 18:3: “When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.” Using context clues, we immediately recognize a negative connotation. It is associated with the word “reproach.” What else can we say about it?

The above aphorism can be summarized thusly. A wrongdoer and a contemptuous reputation go hand in hand. Contempt is simply dishonor or disgrace. Likewise, where there is “ignominy,” “reproach” will be there as well! Reproach, of course, is shame or embarrassment. There is one nuance in difference between this and ignominy. Ignominy is public disgrace or shame—a well-known, scandalous affair. By the way, “ignominy” is derived either from French (“ignominie”) or Latin (“ignominia”), with “ig” meaning “not” and “nomen” being “name.” The adjective “ignoble” (“of low character, not honorable, base”) is etymologically related.

In Hebrew, “ignominy” is “qalown.” It is usually translated “shame” (Psalm 83:16; Proverbs 3:35; Proverbs 9:7; Proverbs 11:2; Proverbs 12:16; Proverbs 13:18; Isaiah 22:18; Jeremiah 13:26; Jeremiah 46:12; Hosea 4:7; Hosea 4:18; Nahum 3:5; Habakkuk 2:16). Other ways it was rendered include: “dishonour” (Proverbs 6:33), “reproach” (Proverbs 22:10), and “confusion” (Job 10:15).

Also see:
» What is “leasing” in the King James Bible?
» What is “purloining?”
» What are “lewd fellows of the baser sort?”