The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







The word stigma (plural stigmata) has more than one possible meaning:

  • in botany, stigma can mean
    • a part of the female part of a flower; "that part of a pistil which has no epidermis, and is fitted to receive the pollen. It is usually the terminal portion, and is commonly somewhat glutinous or viscid." or
    • a spiracle or other small spot
  • social stigma is a "mark of infamy or disgrace; sign of moral blemish; stain or reproach caused by dishonorable conduct; reproachful characterization" (Webster, 1913)
  • in anatomy, a stigma can be a small spot, mark, scar, or a minute hole; -- applied especially to a spot on the outer surface of a Graafian follicle, and to spots of intercellular substance in scaly epithelium, or to minute holes in such spots.
  • in pathology, a stigma can be a red speck upon the skin, produced either by the extravasation of blood, as in the bloody sweat characteristic of certain varieties of religious ecstasy, or by capillary congestion, as in the case of drunkards.
  • in geometry, a stigma is a point so connected by any law whatever with another point, called an index, that as the index moves in any manner in a plane the first point or stigma moves in a determinate way in the same plane.
  • in zoology, a stigma can mean:
    • One of the external openings of the tracheae of insects, myriapods, and other arthropods; a spiracle.
    • One of the apertures of the pulmonary sacs of arachnids.
    • One of the apertures of the gill of an ascidian, and of Amphioxus.
    • Spots on the wings of Lepidoptera.
  • the name for the final form (ς) of the Greek letter for 's', differentiated from initial (Σ,σ) and medial (σ) sigma. It evolved in medieval uncial Greek writing into the capital "lunate sigma" form which resembled the letter 'C', that is still preserved in Cyrillic as the form used for 's'. In the original Greek text of Revelation 13:18, the Number of the Beast, (666,) is represented by the Greek letter numerals Χξς (Ch-X-s), or chi-xi-stigma, whose numerical sum equals six hundred sixty-six (hexakosioi hexēkonta hex).

This page contains text taken from the public domain 1913 Webster's Dictionary, which can be found online at

Last updated: 07-31-2005 21:36:22
Last updated: 08-30-2005 07:05:39