Definitions

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

  • adj. Possessing hereditary rank in a political system or social class derived from a feudalistic stage of a country's development.
  • adj. Having or showing qualities of high moral character, such as courage, generosity, or honor: a noble spirit.
  • adj. Proceeding from or indicative of such a character; showing magnanimity: "What poor an instrument/May do a noble deed!” ( Shakespeare).
  • adj. Grand and stately in appearance; majestic: "a mighty Spanish chestnut, bare now of leaves, but in summer a noble tree” ( Richard Jeffries).
  • adj. Chemistry Inactive or inert.
  • n. A member of the nobility.
  • n. A gold coin formerly used in England, worth half of a mark.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having honorable qualities; having moral eminence and freedom from anything petty, mean or dubious in conduct and character

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Possessing eminence, elevation, dignity, etc.; above whatever is low, mean, degrading, or dishonorable; magnanimous
  • adj. Grand; stately; magnificent; splendid.
  • adj. Of exalted rank; of or pertaining to the nobility; distinguished from the masses by birth, station, or title; highborn
  • n. A person of rank above a commoner; a nobleman; a peer.
  • n. An English money of account, and, formerly, a gold coin, of the value of 6 s. 8 d. sterling, or about $1.61 (in 1913).
  • n. A European fish; the lyrie.
  • transitive v. To make noble; to ennoble.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Possessing or characterized by hereditary social or political preëminence, or belonging to the class which possesses such preëminence or dignity; distinguished by birth, rank, or title; of ancient and honorable lineage; illustrious: as, a noble personage; noble birth.
  • High in excellence or worth.
  • Great or lofty in character, or in the nature of one's achievements; magnanimous; above everything that is mean or dishonorable: applied to persons or the mind.
  • Proceeding from or characteristic or indicative of greatness of mind: as, noble courage; noble sentiments; noble thoughts.
  • Of the best kind; choice; excellent.
  • In mineralogy, excellent; pure in the highest decree: as, noble opal; noble hornblende; noble tourmalin.
  • Precious; valuable: applied to those metals which are not altered on exposure to the air, or which do not easily rust, and which are much scarcer and more valuable than the so-called useful metals. Though the epithet is applied chiefly to gold and silver, and sometimes to quicksilver, it might also with propriety be made use of in reference to platinum and the group of metals associated with it, since these are scarce and valuable, and are little acted on by ordinary reagents.
  • In falconry, noting long-winged falcons which swoop down upon the quarry.
  • Of magnificent proportions or appearance; magnificent; stately; splendid: as, a noble edifice.
  • n. A person of acknowledged social or political preëminence; a person of rank above a commoner; a nobleman; specifically, in Great Britain and Ireland, a peer; a duke, marquis, earl, viscount, or baron. See nobility and peerage.
  • n. An old English gold coin, current for 6s. 8d., first minted by Edward III., and afterward by Richard II., Henry IV., V., and VI., and also by Edward IV., under whom one variety of the noble was called the ryal or rose noble (see ryal).
  • n. The pogge, Agonus cataphractus.
  • n. plural In entomology, the Papilionidæ.
  • To ennoble.

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

  • adj. of or belonging to or constituting the hereditary aristocracy especially as derived from feudal times
  • adj. inert especially toward oxygen
  • adj. having or showing or indicative of high or elevated character
  • n. a titled peer of the realm
  • adj. impressive in appearance

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin nōbilis; see gnō- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English noble, from Old French noble, from Latin nobilis ("knowable, known, well-known, famous, celebrated, high-born, of noble birth, excellent"), from noscere, gnoscere ("to know"). Replaced native Middle English athel ("noble") (from Old English æþele) and Middle English hathel, hathelle ("noble, nobleman") (from the merger of Old English æþele ("nobleman") and Old English hæleþ ("hero")). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • During the time I was with them I could not see anything noble in them, unless it was that they were _noble_ murderers, _noble_ cowards, _noble_ thieves.

    Two Months in the Camp of Big Bear

  • Frenchman brought with him a Latin grammar, written in his own language, with which my friend was quite pleased, until she came to a passage relating to the masculine gender in nouns, and claiming grammatical precedence for it on the ground that the male sex is the noble sex, -- "_le sexe noble_."

    Women and the Alphabet A Series of Essays

  • I am the fine lady, Helena -- I was the cause of his being cheated -- I was intent upon _the noble end_ of outshining a certain Mrs. Luttridge -- the _noble means_ I left to others, and the means have proved worthy of the end.

    Tales and Novels — Volume 03

  • _ our noble, _doubly noble_ Madeleine, the humble companion of any one, but especially of such a coarse person as Lady Vivian!

    Fairy Fingers A Novel

  • I cannot but remind those about me of the merits of my noble friend -- [then correcting himself, Earl Grey went on] -- I wish I could call him my _noble_ friend (_noble_, I mean, in rank, as he is already _noble_ in mind) -- I wish I could see him ennobled by his Sovereign, as his services entitle him to be; for who would deny him that honour, who recollects the career which he has run from Rodney's glorious day, the battles off Cape St. Vincent and the Nile, down to his own brilliant exploits in the

    Memoirs and Correspondence of Admiral Lord de Saumarez. Vol II

  • The term noble is applied to varieties that produce wines with the potential for developing great complexity over many years in the bottle; these include the French Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay, the Italian Nebbiolo and Sangiovese, and the German Riesling.

    On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

  • -- The noblest jealousy, if the term noble is appropriate, is a sort of ambition or pride of the loving person who feels it is an insult that another one should assume it as possible to supplant his love, or it is the highest degree of devotion which sees

    Searchlights on Health The Science of Eugenics

  • -- The noblest jealousy, if the term noble is appropriate, is a sort of ambition or pride of the loving person who feels it is an insult that another one should assume it as possible to supplant his love, or it is the highest degree of devotion which sees a declaration of its object in the foreign invasion, as it were, of his own altar.

    Searchlights on Health: Light on Dark Corners A Complete Sexual Science and a Guide to Purity and Physical Manhood, Advice To Maiden, Wife, And Mother, Love, Courtship, And Marriage

  • For people engaged in what they called a noble cause (defending transsexuals), McCloskey and Conway showed a remarkable disinclination to tell Dreger what they had done.

    Seth Roberts: Can Professors Say the Truth?

  • The city of San Francisco was on a mission to get rid of panhandlers coming up with what it calls a noble way to do it.

    CNN Transcript May 29, 2008

Comments

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  • "A third of a pound, or half a mark. The sum of 6s. 8d."

    August 21, 2008