Etymology of Stigma and Stigmatize

The path is traced out from the verb in Medieval Latin stigmatizāre, taking the component stigmat-, for the Latin stigma, singular of stigmata, understood as a practice in ancient Rome in which a mark was branded on a person’s skin using a traditional red-hot piece of iron, on the grounds of slavery, criminality or even as membership of a group, in relation to the Greek stígma, from which the verb stigmatizein derives, expressing the aforementioned meanings, coming from the Indo-European given in *steig, for ‘sting’; complemented by the suffix -ma, depending on the result of an action, and in the case of stigmatize, the suffix -ize is conjugated, which takes the respective forms of the Latin -izāre and -ízein as explained in stigmatizāre and stigmatízein respectively. On the other hand, stigmatized incorporates the suffix -ed, in order to form the adjective.

In Christianity, it symbolizes a phenomenon that reflects the appearance of a stigma or stigmata that refers to the crucifixion of Christ, highlighting the Italian Saint Francis of Assisi as the most distant precursor recognized by the Catholic Church, in 1224, replicating the wounds on his feet, hands as well as a larger one along his side.

It is a mark that is perceived negatively on a physical level that is of natural or inflicted origin, as well as a socio-cultural characteristic at the behest of religion, ideological position, race, disability, or wealth.

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