noble

[noh-buh l]

adjective, no·bler, no·blest.

noun


Origin of noble

1175–1225; Middle English < Old French < Latin (g)nōbilis ‘notable, of high rank’, equivalent to (g)nō-, base of (g)nōscere ‘to get to know, find out’ (see know1) + -bilis -ble
Related formsno·ble·ness, nounnon·no·ble, adjectiveo·ver·no·ble, adjectiveo·ver·no·ble·ness, nouno·ver·no·b·ly, adverbpseu·do·no·ble, adjective
Can be confusedNobel noble

Synonym study

4. Noble, high-minded, magnanimous agree in referring to lofty principles and loftiness of mind or spirit. Noble implies a loftiness of character or spirit that scorns the petty, mean, base, or dishonorable: a noble deed. High-minded implies having elevated principles and consistently adhering to them: a high-minded pursuit of legal reforms. Magnanimous suggests greatness of mind or soul, especially as manifested in generosity or in overlooking injuries: magnanimous toward his former enemies.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for noble

Contemporary Examples of noble

Historical Examples of noble

  • And of necessity, even the noble have their moments of deshabille.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Often he cursed himself as a wretch for paining that pure and noble heart.

    Malbone

    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Above all, our noble jester succeeds in his mission of laugh-producing.

    The Dramatic Values in Plautus

    Wilton Wallace Blancke

  • "I give not the pip of an apple for king or for noble," cried the serf passionately.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • We must cultivate the noble virtues that have their root in pride.


British Dictionary definitions for noble

noble

adjective

of or relating to a hereditary class with special social or political status, often derived from a feudal period
of or characterized by high moral qualities; magnanimousa noble deed
having dignity or eminence; illustrious
grand or imposing; magnificenta noble avenue of trees
of superior quality or kind; excellenta noble strain of horses
chem
  1. (of certain elements) chemically unreactive
  2. (of certain metals, esp copper, silver, and gold) resisting oxidation
falconry
  1. designating long-winged falcons that capture their quarry by stooping on it from aboveCompare ignoble
  2. designating the type of quarry appropriate to a particular species of falcon

noun

a person belonging to a privileged social or political class whose status is usually indicated by a title conferred by sovereign authority or descent
(in the British Isles) a person holding the title of duke, marquess, earl, viscount, or baron, or a feminine equivalent
a former Brit gold coin having the value of one third of a pound
Derived Formsnobleness, nounnobly, adverb

Word Origin for noble

C13: via Old French from Latin nōbilis, originally, capable of being known, hence well-known, noble, from noscere to know
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

Word Origin and History for noble
adj.

c.1200, "illustrious, distinguished; worthy of honor or respect," from Old French noble "of noble bearing or birth," from Latin nobilis "well-known, famous, renowned; excellent, superior, splendid; high-born, of superior birth," earlier *gnobilis, literally "knowable," from gnoscere "to come to know," from PIE root *gno- "to know" (see know). The prominent Roman families, which were "well known," provided most of the Republic's public officials.

Meaning "distinguished by rank, title, or birth" is first recorded late 13c. Sense of "having lofty character, having high moral qualities" is from c.1600. A noble gas (1902) is so called for its inactivity or intertness; a use of the word that had been applied in Middle English to precious stones, metals, etc., of similar quality (late 14c.), from the sense of "having admirable properties" (c.1300).

n.

"man of rank," c.1300, from noble (adj.). The same noun sense also is in Old French and Latin. Late 14c. as the name of an English coin first issued in reign of Edward III.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper