Definitions

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

  • n. 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: "The old English nobility of office made way for the Norman nobility of faith and landed wealth” ( Winston S. Churchill).
  • n. Noble rank or status: Congress may not grant titles of nobility.
  • n. The state or quality of being exalted in character.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The quality or state of being noble; superiority of mind or of character; commanding excellence; eminence.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Those who are noble; the collective body of nobles or titled persons in a state; the aristocratic and patrician class; the peerage.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A body of persons enjoying the privileges of nobility.

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

  • n. a privileged class holding hereditary titles
  • n. the state of being of noble birth
  • n. 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

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