Mighty Red Pen

April 4, 2007

Stigma versus stigmatism

Filed under: Word wars — mighty red pen @ 7:58 pm

Overheard on the radio today was Amy Lee of gloom-rock band Evanescence talking about why people should support Out of the Shadows, an organization that raises awareness about epilepsy.

One of the organization’s goals, she said, is education so “kids don’t have a stigmatism” about people with epilepsy.

The word she wanted was actually stigma. This is a “mark of disgrace or infamy,” as poetically phrased on dictionary.com. The plural of this is stigmata, which seems especially appropriate as we approach Good Friday.

Stigmatism, on the other hand, has to do with lenses and the refraction of light. As a person with astigmatism of the left eye, MRP was interested to find out that one definition of stigmatism is, simply, “normal eyesight.”

And who says you can’t teach an old MRP new words?



  1. “Stigmatized,” probably, is the cause of all this confusion. People hear that form of the word and reason by false analogy to sigmatism.

    False analogy is the sand-pit of grammatical golf.

    Comment by David — April 6, 2007 @ 1:00 pm | Reply

  2. Gloom rock? lol, you’re such a mom.
    She doesn’t need to know the difference between a stigma and a stigmatism, she has the voice of an angel.

    Comment by The Mole — April 6, 2007 @ 6:29 pm | Reply

  3. Ha ha ha Moley. I totally knew you would write in to defend your girl Amy. I’m not saying she doesn’t have a pretty voice, I’m just saying sometimes she channels Axl Rose a la “November Rain.” Gloomy drama rock!

    Comment by mightyredpen — April 9, 2007 @ 8:31 am | Reply

  4. Actually, “stigmatism,” means to have the properties of “stigma,” So in this case, if the intended meaning is to have the properties of being marked, then it is actually used correctly.

    The author’s suggestion of “stigmatism,” as relating to lens refraction is incorrect. I think the author means,”Astigmatism,”

    Comment by Garret — June 22, 2016 @ 2:27 pm | Reply

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