The novelist Kingsley Amis - Lucky Jim (1954) uses the word though he puts it in quotation marks. It appears three times in the novel.

First use:

"Well, if you drink as much as that you must expect to feel a bit off-colour the next day, mustn't you?" She drew herself upright in her seat in a schoolmarm attitude. He remembered his father, who until the war had always worn stiff white collars, being reproved by the objurgatory jeweller as excessively "dignant" in demeanour. This etymological sport expressed for Dixon exactly what he objected to in Christine. He said rather coldly: "Yes, I must mustn't I?"

Second use:

How well really the Callaghan girl had behaved, in spite of her stand-offishness at times, and how sound her suggestion had been. That, and her laughing fit, proved that she wasn't as "dignant" as she looked. He remembered uneasily the awful glow of her skin, the distressing clarity of her eyes, the immoderate whiteness of those slightly irregular teeth.

Third use:

"Not that I think there's anything foolish in coming to see you. Oh, I just don't seem to be able to put it in any way that sounds at all sensible." Little by little and intermittently, she was adopting her "dignant" tone and physical attitude.

There is no OED entry for dignant

  • 4
    Probably intended to be an antonym for indignant.
    – NVZ
    Sep 7, 2016 at 13:30
  • 7
    Seems like a back-formation from indignant (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back-formation), but it's not being used as a simple antonym of indignant. Seems like it's being used to mean dignified.
    – DyingIsFun
    Sep 7, 2016 at 13:30
  • Reading the passage again, it's rather confusing. It seems like the girl behaved well and gave a nice suggestion, which suggests to the narrator that she was not as "dignant" as she appeared (where a dignant appearance is characterized by an awful glow, distressing eyes, immoderate and irregular teeth). So "dignant" seems to be being used negatively.
    – DyingIsFun
    Sep 7, 2016 at 13:42
  • 1
    French digne and digné: dignified. indigne: undignified. But indigné: indignant
    – Drew
    Sep 7, 2016 at 17:54
  • 1
    I would think the ‘dignity’ link is a bit of a red herring here: to me, it reads as just an antonym to indignant. If indignant means ‘readily showing [negative] emotion, wont to flare up’, then dignant would presumably mean something along the lines of ‘stiff upper lip’: emotionless, stiff, aloof. Stiff, white colours are definitely dignant; laughing fits and skin glow definitely aren’t. In the third use, I’m assuming she’s moving from quite emotional speech back into a reserved manner. Does that fit? Nov 1, 2018 at 9:50

1 Answer 1


I assume Dignant is made up of dignity + ant, hence it is a person who possesses dignity.

According to the urban dictionary:

Dignant: To have and display dignity.

Acknowledgement of another individual within or about to enter ones own personal space.

"The newspaper boy was dignant enough to say hi to me this morning on my way to the store."

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  • How exactly does it differ in meaning from dignified?
    – WS2
    Sep 7, 2016 at 17:18
  • 1
    I believe it to be an important element to Amis's plot in Lucky Jim. I am only just one-third of the way into the book. So when I have finished it I will report back.
    – WS2
    Sep 7, 2016 at 19:04
  • I re-read the three passages and here the meaning of dignant seems slightly stiff collared and has the implications of holier of thou and stiffness. In fact the second passage makes it very clear, "in spite of her stand-offishness at times, ..... her laughing fit, proved that she wasn't as "dignant" as she looked." Sep 8, 2016 at 12:57

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