1590s (earlier stigme, c. 1400), "mark made on skin by burning with a hot iron," from Latin stigma (plural stigmata), from Greek stigma (genitive stigmatos) "mark of a pointed instrument, puncture, tattoo-mark, brand," from root of stizein "to mark, tattoo," from PIE root *steig- "to stick; pointed" (see stick (v.)).
Figurative meaning "a mark of disgrace" in English is from 1610s. Stigmas "marks resembling the wounds on the body of Christ, appearing supernaturally on the bodies of the devout" is from 1630s; earlier stigmate (late 14c.), from Latin stigmata.
updated on November 30, 2013