To puncture, to brand (Greek, stigma, a puncture).
Slaves used to be branded, sometimes for the sake of recognising them,
and sometimes by way of punishment. The branding was effected by
red-hot iron marked with certain letters to their forehead, and
then rubbing some colouring matter into the wound. A slave that had
been branded was by the Romans called a stigmalic, and the brand
was called the stigma.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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