from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Noble; illustrious
  • n. A chief or lord.
  • n. A prince or noble.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Noble; illustrious; excellent.
  • n. A noble; a chief; often simply a man.
  • n. Race; family; ancestry; noble ancestry; nobility; honor.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English athel, hathel ("noble", also "nobleman, hero"), from Old English æþele ("noble, eminent, aristocratic, excellent, famous, glorious, splendid, fine, costly, valuable, vigorous, lusty, young, pleasant, sweet-smelling, natural, congenial, suitable"), from Proto-Germanic *aþalaz, *aþaljaz, *aþiluz (“noble, of noble birth”), from Proto-Indo-European *Àtos (“father”), *atta (“mother”). Akin to Old Frisian eþel, Dutch edel, German edel. Middle English form hathel due to conflation with Old English hæleþ ("hero"). See heleth.


  • The element ‘athel, aethel’ literally translates as ‘noble’, so the term is often translated as ‘nobleman’, but that doesn’t carry the royal element of the original’s meaning.

    Archive 2006-08-01


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