I had discovered the tone of "dignity" in the Christian Science Monitor newspaper, but I couldn't seem to find a definition that fit with the tone I had identified or with my own gut feeling.
I turned to an online dictionary: Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press.
She has a quiet dignity about her.
- the importance and value that a person has, that makes other people respect them or makes them respect themselves:
- the quality of a person that makes him or her deserving of respect, sometimes shown in behavior or appearance:
This definition emphasizes behavior: calm, serious, quiet. This is much closer to what I think of for "dignity", but again, I confess, I'm not always this well behaved, and I'm not sure the Monitor is telling me to do this.
Also, in this definition, there is an emphasis on "respect". This was not in previous definitions. Hmm. A slight shift: here dignity and respect are assumed for everyone, and I see the first mention of "self-respect".
Finally, in this definition, there is no mention of rank or office.
This definition feels a lot closer to my personal definition of "dignity".
The tone of the Monitor was much closer to this definition than the previous, older ones. Still, I did not choose "respect" as the overall tone, I chose "dignity".
Did I choose the wrong word?