- divine power or spirit; a deity, especially one presiding locally or believed to inhabit a particular object.
Origin of numen
1620–30; < Latin nūmen a nod, command, divine will or power, divinity; akin to nūtāre to nod the head in commanding or assent
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for numen
I do not say that he or any other numen was the better for the change.
He looked at her, inquiring of her whole person what numen abode in the fane.Robert Falconer
The populus was the tree of Hercules, and the plane-tree was the “numen of Atridæ.”Cultus Arborum
It would seem that every region in Italy had such a numen loci (naturally mainly agricultural).Introduction to the History of Religions
Crawford Howell Toy
Numen is so important a word in the Roman religion that it is necessary to be perfectly clear as to what was meant by it.
- (esp in ancient Roman religion) a deity or spirit presiding over a thing or place
- a guiding principle, force, or spirit
C17: from Latin: a nod (indicating a command), divine power; compare nuere to nod
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 numen
"divine spirit, presiding divinity," 1620s, from Latin numen "divine will, divinity," literally "a nod," from nuere "to nod" (assent); see numinous.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper