I am looking for a word that has the opposite, positive connotation from 'stigma':

For example,

There is a stigma of laziness associated with poor people.

What would be the replacement for 'stigma' in this sentence in opposite world:

There is a ??? of industriousness associated with rich people.

Using a thesaurus tends towards cleanliness or lack of blemish. But I'm thinking of 'stigma' not as a blemish, but rather a negative connotation, so that the antonym I'm looking for is not the lack of a blemish but a postive connotation (i.e. that 'stigma' -means- 'negative connotation').

  • 1
    Specifically, an unjustified positive connotation?
    – Sam
    Apr 1, 2011 at 14:30
  • 1
    @Sam: Sorry, yes, I was trying to keep as simple as possible, but that makes my example sentences pretty inflammatory. 'Unjustifiable' and 'mythical' are things I would apply to both situations (which actually is my main motivation. I keep sensing in others that rich people have an (I find) extremely unfounded aura of 'betterness' attached to them...um...did I just answer my own question?)
    – Mitch
    Apr 1, 2011 at 14:36
  • How about instead of extremely unfounded which does seem prejudicial, something like, a possibly undeserved aura?
    – Sam
    Apr 1, 2011 at 14:41
  • 2
    Notwithstanding the specific example in OP, is it to be generally supposed that a 'stigma' is unjustified? Apr 1, 2011 at 16:58
  • @FumbleFingers: as part of the connotations of the words, no, there is no sense of justified or unjustified at all, just that there is some kind of special psychological ...'thing' about the modified object, such as your adversaries in a game are seen to be 'evil', or when a team loses a game, they feel like they are somehow 'bad'. None of these are necessary at all, just commonly associated. I am calling these stigmas, and I'm looking for a positive version.
    – Mitch
    Apr 1, 2011 at 17:23

9 Answers 9


Aura might work, as it has a generally positive connotation. There is also halo, though that might be a little over-the-top in this case, or the more neutral property.

  • 'Aura' is the direction I'm looking for...it doesn't pop out as the totally obvious selection to me (yet).
    – Mitch
    Apr 1, 2011 at 14:45
  • 9
    +1 for aura. A similar word would be air: They have an air of industriousness about them.
    – MrHen
    Apr 1, 2011 at 15:16
  • Definitely aura, as they both have theological connotations. Jul 5, 2011 at 18:16

Here are a few options:

  • virtue
  • principle
  • reputation
  • character
  • acclaim
  • plaudits

Most of these were gleaned from a thesaurus entry for honor.

  • 'virtue' or 'honor' might work. They're not what I expected, but both have easy antonyms with connotations that might work in given context.
    – Mitch
    Apr 1, 2011 at 15:58
  • 'reputation' might work well both negatively and positively.
    – Mitch
    Apr 1, 2011 at 17:13

You might consider the word "patina" as an option.

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    or 'veneer' too but those have the extra connotation of covering up, cosmetic appearance, which can be considered slightly negative. I'm looking for something that is just plain positive.
    – Mitch
    Apr 1, 2011 at 14:39
  • 1
    Also consider "air," as in, "She had an air of success about her." Still, "patina" would be my choice as it is almost always used in a positive sense, alluding to qualities burnished over time.
    – The Raven
    Apr 1, 2011 at 15:37
  • 'air' sounds more neutral but might work for both positive and negative. You're convincing me little by little that 'patina' might work too. Annoyingly, online definitions give hardly any nuance to any of these, even the well-known metaphorical use of 'patina'.
    – Mitch
    Apr 1, 2011 at 16:02

Something along the lines of "mark of distinction", "status symbol", "noble bearing" seems to have the connotations you are asking for, but they don't fit your example sentence.

Do any of these sentences have the connotations you are searching for?

  • There is a quality of industriousness associated with rich people.
  • There is a continuing motion of industriousness ...
  • There is an outpouring of industriousness ...
  • There is a badge of industriousness ...
  • There is a mark of industriousness ...
  • There is a stamp of industriousness ...
  • There is a distinctive mark of industriousness ...
  • There is a distinctive stamp of industriousness ...
  • There is the presence of industriousness ...
  • There is the attribute of industriousness ...
  • There is an appearance of industriousness ...
  • There is an implied subtext of industriousness ...
  • There is an expectation of industriousness ...
  • There is an assumption of industriousness ...
  • There is an abundance of industriousness ...
  • There is a stereotype of industriousness ...
  • 'mark','stamp':close to the implication of stigma of something preent on the surface.'attribute','subtext','stereotype' in the sense of connotation or associated features.
    – Mitch
    Apr 2, 2011 at 13:26

I suggest "air".

From Thesaurus.com:

Main Entry: air

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: distinctive quality or character; style


I think "prestige" would be the word, but you would have to re-work the sentence.

A drop-in fit would be "aura" or "halo".


If OP is looking for an antonym that includes some negative connotations, I suggest kudos.

In my experience kudos is often used somewhat disparagingly, with a suggestion that the reputation being refered to may in fact be undeserved or overrated.

In light of subsequent clarification from OP, I suggest hallmark. It can't be used in exactly the same way as some other offerings, and sometimes it's used in reference to undesirable qualities, but "The hallmark of industriousness is associated with rich people" sounds good to me.

  • For what ever reason, I've never found 'kudos' to have good 'mouth-feel'. It also has the connotation of the action of congratulations (what's the opposite of that?), whereas 'stigma' is just a static thing.
    – Mitch
    Apr 1, 2011 at 18:25
  • If we can discard the requirement that our two words should have either positive or negative connotations, I'd go for stamp as being pretty neutral in either example. Apr 1, 2011 at 23:57
  • kudos isn't quite the right part of speech, though. Or something. Anyway, it doesn't work in "There is a ??? of industriousness associated with rich people."
    – Marthaª
    Apr 2, 2011 at 0:11
  • @Martha: I agree There is a kudos of industiousness associated with rich people sounds a bit 'iffy'. But The kudos of industriousness is associated... seems perfectly unremarkable to me. Apr 2, 2011 at 23:26



the glow of x? The patina of y? Luminousity of z?

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