• synonyms


[noo-min, nyoo-]
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noun, plural nu·mi·na [noo-muh-nuh, nyoo-] /ˈnu mə nə, ˈnyu-/.
  1. divine power or spirit; a deity, especially one presiding locally or believed to inhabit a particular object.
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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

Related Words for numen

accomplishment, endowment, ability, acquirement, bent, attribute, set, capacity, genius, propensity, head, power, specialty, attainment, faculty, instinct, forte, knack, aptness, capability

Examples from the Web for numen

Historical Examples of numen

  • I do not say that he or any other numen was the better for the change.

    The Religious Experience of the Roman People

    W. Warde Fowler

  • He looked at her, inquiring of her whole person what numen abode in the fane.

    Robert Falconer

    George MacDonald

  • The populus was the tree of Hercules, and the plane-tree was the “numen of Atridæ.”

  • It would seem that every region in Italy had such a numen loci (naturally mainly agricultural).

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for numen


noun plural -mina (-mɪnə)
  1. (esp in ancient Roman religion) a deity or spirit presiding over a thing or place
  2. a guiding principle, force, or spirit
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Word Origin for numen

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper