[noo-muh-nuh s, nyoo-]
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  1. of, relating to, or like a numen; spiritual or supernatural.
  2. surpassing comprehension or understanding; mysterious: that element in artistic expression that remains numinous.
  3. arousing one's elevated feelings of duty, honor, loyalty, etc.: a benevolent and numinous paternity.

Origin of numinous

1640–50; < Latin nūmin- (stem of nūmen) numen + -ous Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for numinous


  1. denoting, being, or relating to a numen; divine
  2. arousing spiritual or religious emotions
  3. mysterious or awe-inspiring

Word Origin for numinous

C17: from Latin numin-, numen + -ous
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 numinous

"divine, spiritual," 1640s, from Latin numen (genitive numinis) "divine will," properly "divine approval expressed by nodding the head," from nuere "to nod," from PIE *neu- "to nod" (cf. Greek neuein "to nod") + -ous.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper