What is the antonym for "stigmatizing"?

I would like to describe this idea that people will stigmatize or [???] someone based on his conduct. Like saying that he is dishonorable [stigma] or a man of honor [???].

I feel admiring cannot express what I mean.


11 Answers 11


What about praise?

According to Oxford Dictionaries

Express warm approval or admiration of.

sing the praises of

Express enthusiastic approval or admiration of.

Also, you can search in a Thesaurus and choose the one you like most https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/thesaurus/stigma

I want to congratulate Dávid Leblay for his suggestion glorify, because I think that it preserves the touch of religiosity that stigmatize transmits.

Looking for the exact meaning of apotheosize (suggested by @Fattie), I've found another good one


Admire, revere, or love greatly or excessively.

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    While admirable, this is not really correct, I don't think. Glorify is better. – Fattie May 29 '18 at 16:33
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    @Fattie I agree with you but my answer is not too bad taking in account that "glorify" is a synonym of "praise" en.oxforddictionaries.com/thesaurus/glorify And that glorify is: to praise and honour God or a person dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/glorify – RubioRic May 29 '18 at 16:59
  • @Mari-LouA I already knew about the edit history, I've been around almost the same time than you in Stack Exchange but I wanted to remark the change. I've seen references to other persons' answers in this site, I didn't know that it was something to avoid. I think that there is too much edition/moderation in these English Language sites sometimes for no reason. – RubioRic May 29 '18 at 21:56
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    I think it's confusing to have three, four different answers on the same post. Doubly so when the answers are by different users. So which answer did the OP accept and saw most fitting? Lebay's, perhaps fattie's (which you said inspired "idolize") or your own two solutions? – Mari-Lou A May 29 '18 at 22:52
  • @Mari-LouA That's why I wrote [EDITED]. But what's the problem in not knowing which one picked OP? My word is not the best, the community have chosen "lionize". For those that will come in the future, that probably will read only the accepted answer and the most valued, I'm hightlighting that there are other remarkable words and I'm crediting who suggested them. – RubioRic May 30 '18 at 4:14

You could use lionise / lionize.

lionize: give a lot of public attention and approval to (someone); treat as a celebrity.

modern sportsmen are lionized and feted

Nevertheless, he is a flamboyant showman, fond of electric blue suits, who once turned up on a motorbike to wild applause at the Cannes festival, where he is lionised.

People will lionize you as the Voice of a Generation.

In 1778, after an absence of 28 years, he made a triumphal return to Paris, where he was lionized for four months in a way few writers can ever have experienced.


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    Excellent. I'm reminded of the reaction to Mamoudou Gassama and his magnificent scaling of the Paris building to rescue the child. Gassama has been rightly 'lionized' for his heroic act. – Nigel J May 29 '18 at 8:52
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    One wonders whether people scaling Nelson's Column might be lionised. – Edwin Ashworth May 29 '18 at 8:54
  • (And that's probably the only time I've ever said that on this site :) :) ) – Fattie May 29 '18 at 16:33
  • Nice word! Its paywalled OED entry. – tchrist Jun 2 '18 at 2:10

I think glorify works the best, as it is pretty casual, but quite descriptive. Or, depending on context, idolize might be the one you're looking for.

If you want something a bit more fancy, I think exalt, and its synonyms are excellent

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    Glorify is a good suggestion and it preserves some touch of religiosity that always suggest stigmatize. – RubioRic May 29 '18 at 15:43

Antonyms include valorize (in American English) or valorise (in British English), exalt, extol and acclaim (all transitive verbs), or pay homage (intransitive, but can take to and an indirect object).

I think these are particularly close antonyms because they all mean attempting to raise someone’s reputation, but valorize is the closest because the subject of the verb does not have to be a person and it does not imply a speech-act.

Take, for example, the sentence, “Memorial Day valorizes America’s fallen troops.” That’s the closest antonym I can think of to a phrase like “stigmatizes Vietnam veterans.” The word exalt would also work, but doesn’t sound as good to me. It would be incorrect to say extol or praise, because those are things only a person can do. We can stigmatize through our actions or by implication, but acclaim or praise is more specifically a speech-act. We could also say honor or pay respect to in this context, but those are broader: they could also be things we do in private, and stigmatize necessarily means damaging someone’s public reputation.

If we say glorify here, that connotes undeserved praise, in much the same way that stigmatize connotes undeserved oppobrium, so in one sense it’s a better antonym, and in another, a worse one. Interestingly, honor is the only one of those words that specifically implies the person receiving the homage deserves it, but I can think of many others that carry the opposite implication.

  • @tchrist What part of it do you mean to highlight? – Davislor Jun 2 '18 at 2:23
  • I found the first citation interesting, the one about valorizing prices: “It attempted both to regulate the output and to stabilise and to ‘valorise’ the prices.” The current sense has drifted a bit since that earliest citation from 1921. – tchrist Jun 2 '18 at 2:26
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    @tchrist I’m unable to read it from here, but the original sense was “raise the value of,” from which I guess it came to mean something like talking your book. Another good one from the OED is where it tells what must have been a current joke among academics in the 1890s: the example for “enormous,” which was then losing its connotation of abnormally, scandalously big, was a parvenu businessman boasting of his enormous profits and not knowing how right he was. – Davislor Jun 2 '18 at 2:35


Here's an example of that use: http://freebeacon.com/politics/steyer-not-talking-impeachment-pelosi-normalizing-trump/


Paying homage to. Or still, esteeming.



This will vary by context but in some cases is exactly the right word.


Why not use enshrining - to contain or keep something as if in a holy place:

Almost two and a half million war dead are enshrined at Yasukuni. A lot of memories are enshrined in this photograph album.


Sanctify: "set apart as or declare holy; consecrate."

While this is more accurately an antonym for "demonize", it also works as an antonym for "stigmatize". Stigmatizing something is to make it undesirable/unclean/disfavored to most. Sanctifying something is the process of making it desirable/holy/favored by most.


The word you perhaps want is


That's about as strong as it gets!

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    Good one, but OP's looking for a verb: apotheosize ;-P – RubioRic May 29 '18 at 17:01
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    right on, @RubioRic ! – Fattie May 29 '18 at 17:17

How about glamorizing?

Depending on the context, an organisation may wish to forster and encourage certain behaviors it deems positive and constructive, by adding an air of glamour to particular eminent exemplars of same.

For example, a university may allow athletics stars who practice a healthy lifestyle and strong work ethic to have certain privileges and the equivalents of some kinds of badges of honor.

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