Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A class of persons distinguished by high birth or rank and in Great Britain including dukes and duchesses, marquises and marchionesses, earls and countesses, viscounts and viscountesses, and barons and baronesses.
  • noun Noble rank or status.
  • noun The state or quality of being exalted in character.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The character of being noble; nobleness; dignity of mind; that elevation of soul which comprehends bravery, generosity, magnanimity, intrepidity, and contempt of everything that dishonors character; loftiness of tone; greatness; grandeur.
  • noun Social or political preëminence, usually accompanied by special hereditary privileges, founded on hereditary succession or descent; eminence or dignity derived by inheritance from illustrious ancestors, or specially conferred by sovereign authority.
  • noun A body of persons enjoying the privileges of nobility.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The quality or state of being noble; superiority of mind or of character; commanding excellence; eminence.
  • noun The state of being of high rank or noble birth; patrician dignity; antiquity of family; distinction by rank, station, or title, whether inherited or conferred.
  • noun Those who are noble; the collective body of nobles or titled persons in a state; the aristocratic and patrician class; the peerage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A noble or privileged social class, historically accompanied by a hereditary title; aristocracy.
  • noun uncountable The quality of being noble.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a privileged class holding hereditary titles
  • noun the state of being of noble birth
  • noun the quality of elevation of mind and exaltation of character or ideals or conduct

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English nobilite, the quality of being noble, from Old French, from Latin nōbilitās, from nōbilis, noble; see noble.]

Examples

  • "All my boyhood and youth I thought of the word nobility and what it meant," he wrote.

    Rocket to the Moon revived

  • The stories of these ordinary men, what he called the nobility of ordinary people, always moved him so very much.

    A War Reporter’s Last Great Dispatch

  • 'In Japan there is what we call the nobility of failure.

    The Ninja

  • Throughout the 30-minute, conversational video, apparently the first in a series, al-Zawahri emphasizes what he calls the "nobility" of bin Laden's character - as well as his own proximity to him.

    The Seattle Times

  • Throughout the 30-minute, conversational video, apparently the first in a series, al-Zawahri emphasizes what he calls the "nobility" of bin Laden's character - as well as his own proximity to him.

    CBC | Top Stories News

  • Throughout the 30-minute, conversational video, apparently the first in a series, Mr. al-Zawahri emphasizes what he calls the "nobility" of bin Laden's character - as well as his own proximity to him.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • Throughout the 30-minute, conversational video, apparently the first in a series, al-Zawahri emphasizes what he calls the "nobility" of bin Laden's character - as well as his own proximity to him.

    Telegraph.co.uk - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • Why anyone would think two average, humbly dressed guys traveling ON FOOT, with instruments, would be nobility is absolutely retarded.

    I Can Haz Better Stories Pls?

  • Almasy means apple, more or less, his family made money from apple orchards in Hungary and bought the castle, never quite attaining official status as nobility from the Austrian government.

    The English Patient « Books « Literacy News

  • We ascribe them a certain nobility and "work ethic", and conversely we dislike scavengers.

    Notes from the field: Vultures in the neighborhood

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