[ em-uh-nuhns ]
/ ˈɛm ə nəns /
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Definition of eminence

high station, rank, or repute: philosophers of eminence.
a high place or part; a hill or elevation; height.
(initial capital letter)Roman Catholic Church. a title of honor, applied to cardinals (usually preceded by His or Your).
Anatomy. an elevation or projection, especially on a bone.
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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.
Sometimes em·i·nen·cy [em-uh-nuhn-see] /ˈɛm ə nən si/ .

Origin of eminence

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English, from Anglo-French from Latin ēminentia, equivalent to ēmin- (base of ēminēre “to stand out”) + -entia noun sufffix; see origin at eminent, -ence
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does eminence mean?

Eminence is a position of superiority, high rank or status, or fame.

In other words, eminence is the state of being eminent—high in station, rank, or reputation. Someone who is eminent is prominent or distinguished in some way, especially within a particular field. The word is often associated with scholars.

Eminence is similar to prominence but is perhaps even more positive. Someone who is prominent is well-known and often important. Someone who is considered eminent is often both well-known and well-respected. Still, the words are often used in overlapping ways.

Eminence is used in a more specific way as a title or a way of addressing a high-ranking official within a hierarchy. In the Catholic Church, it’s used to address a cardinal. When used this way, it is usually capitalized and used with a pronoun, as in Your Eminence. 

A less common variant of eminence is eminency.

Example: He has achieved eminence in his field of study and is one of the most highly regarded academics in the nation.

Where does eminence come from?

The first records of the word eminence come from around 1400. It comes from the Latin ēminentia, from the verb ēminēre, meaning “to stand out.” The suffix -ence is used in nouns to indicate a state or condition and corresponds to the suffix -ent in adjectives (such as eminent).

People who have achieved eminence stand out in their field. There are also a few less common meanings of eminence that involve standing out in more literal ways. Eminence can refer to a place of high elevation, such as a hill. In anatomy, an eminence is a projection of a body part, especially a bone—often meaning a part where it sticks out or stands out.

Eminence should not be confused with imminence, which is the state of being imminent—likely to occur at any time.

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What are some other forms related to eminence?

What are some synonyms for eminence?

What are some words that share a root or word element with eminence

What are some words that often get used in discussing eminence?

What are some words eminence may be commonly confused with?

How is eminence used in real life?

Eminence is typically used in positive contexts involving someone who has earned a high status, rank, or level of respect.



Try using eminence!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of eminence?

A. prominence
B. prestige
C. obscurity
D. fame

How to use eminence in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for eminence (1 of 2)

/ (ˈɛmɪnəns) /

a position of superiority, distinction, high rank, or fame
a high or raised piece of ground
anatomy a projection of an organ or part
Also called: eminency

Word Origin for eminence

C17: from French, from Latin ēminentia a standing out; see eminent

British Dictionary definitions for eminence (2 of 2)



/ (ˈɛmɪnəns) /

noun plural -nences or -nencies
(preceded by Your or His) a title used to address or refer to a cardinal
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for eminence

[ ĕmə-nəns ]

The projecting prominent part of an organ, especially a bone.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.