Origin of sublime

1350–1400; (noun and adj.) < Latin sublīmis high, equivalent to sub- sub- + an element of uncertain origin, variously identified with līmis, līmus oblique or līmen lintel, threshold; (v.) Middle English sublimen < Old French sublimer < Latin sublimāre to raise, derivative of sublimis
Related formssub·lime·ly, adverbsub·lime·ness, nounsub·lim·er, nounun·sub·limed, adjective
Can be confusedsublimate sublime

Synonyms for sublime

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sublimely

Contemporary Examples of sublimely

  • Fried chicken is sublimely delicious when done right, and even when it's done wrong, it's not bad.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Economic History of Stereotypes

    Megan McArdle

    June 3, 2013

  • You were utterly, sublimely defenseless against the laughter.

    The Daily Beast logo
    A Eulogy for Marie Colvin

    Katrina Heron

    March 14, 2012

  • For all the sublimely horrible things that undoubtedly happened, though, they were more than balanced out by the good things.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Best Decade Ever

    Reihan Salam

    December 31, 2009

Historical Examples of sublimely

  • I cared for nothing but that sublimely aesthetic impression.

    The Arrow of Gold

    Joseph Conrad

  • “No one would see us here,” said she, sublimely irrelevant, as usual.

  • And Lorraine's education began, too—but she was sublimely unconscious of that fact.


    Robert W. Chambers

  • And heroic, sublimely heroic, may be the Christianity of the battlefield.

    Winning the Wilderness

    Margaret Hill McCarter

  • And all the while America is sublimely unconscious that the joys of childhood are not hers.

    American Sketches

    Charles Whibley

British Dictionary definitions for sublimely



of high moral, aesthetic, intellectual, or spiritual value; noble; exalted
inspiring deep veneration, awe, or uplifting emotion because of its beauty, nobility, grandeur, or immensity
unparalleled; supremea sublime compliment
poetic of proud bearing or aspect
archaic raised up

noun the sublime

something that is sublime
the ultimate degree or perfect examplethe sublime of folly


(tr) to make higher or purer
to change or cause to change directly from a solid to a vapour or gas without first meltingto sublime iodine; many mercury salts sublime when heated
to undergo or cause to undergo this process followed by a reverse change directly from a vapour to a solidto sublime iodine onto glass
Derived Formssublimely, adverbsublimity (səˈblɪmɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin for sublime

C14: from Latin sublīmis lofty, perhaps from sub- up to + līmen lintel
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 sublimely



1580s, "expressing lofty ideas in an elevated manner," from Middle French sublime, from Latin sublimis "uplifted, high, lofty," possibly originally "sloping up to the lintel," from sub "up to" + limen "lintel."

The sublime (n.) "the sublime part of anything" is from 1670s. Sublime Porte, former title of the Ottoman government, is from French la Sublime Porte, literally "the high gate," a loan-translation of Arabic Bab 'Ali, title of the Ottoman court at Constantinople (cf. mikado).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper