Definitions

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

  • noun A presiding divinity or spirit of a place.
  • noun A spirit believed by animists to inhabit certain natural phenomena or objects.
  • noun Creative energy; genius.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Divinity; deity; godhead.

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

  • noun a divinity, especially a local or presiding god

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

  • noun a spirit believed to inhabit an object or preside over a place (especially in ancient Roman religion)

Etymologies

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

[Latin nūmen, nod of the head, divine power, numen.]

Examples

  • For it was an attempt to supersede the ancient religious life of that State by _externa superstitio, prava religio_ -- _prava_, because _deorum numen praetenditur sceleribus_; and hence, as Livy expresses it in the admirable speech put into the mouth of the consul, the Roman gods themselves felt their _numen_ to be contaminated. [

    The Religious Experience of the Roman People From the Earliest Times to the Age of Augustus

  • They supposed an art, a power, or a wisdom, which they called numen, in creatures the most destitute of understanding.

    The Existence of God

  • “numinous” from the Latin word numen, which denoted a supernatural nonpersonalized being.

    ORIGINS OF RELIGION

  • Where events carry modalities of conviction or disposition — “must/must-not happen” or “should/should-not happen” — it may be more useful to treat this a strong/weak distinction, and take the flavour of the quirk as a product of its positive or negative loading: that which we revere may be termed a numen; that which we abhor may be termed a monstrum.

    Notes Toward a Theory of Narrative Modality

  • Where events carry modalities of conviction or disposition — “must/must-not happen” or “should/should-not happen” — it may be more useful to treat this a strong/weak distinction, and take the flavour of the quirk as a product of its positive or negative loading: that which we revere may be termed a numen; that which we abhor may be termed a monstrum.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • The translation has often given cause for dispute, as 'numen' is a word that may be translated as vague-sounding Providence, as a rather non-commital Deity or as the strict and fierce monotheistic God.

    WordPress.com Top Blogs

  • The translation has often given cause for dispute, as 'numen' is a word that may be translated as vague-sounding Providence, as a rather non-commital Deity or as the strict and fierce monotheistic God.

    WordPress.com Top Blogs

  • Where tremulum and staccatum are most applicable when it comes to character motivation, it should be noted, numen and monstrum may well be constructed entirely from the reader's disposition/conviction.

    Archive 2010-01-01

  • Ruptura numen: In The Bacchae by Euripedes, we have the monstrum dicta of Pentheus the tyrant, King of Tears, who has denied the god Dionysus his due.

    Notes Toward a Theory of Narrative Modality

  • “It begins with the awful …” — i.e. with the monstrum — “and then finds comfort” — i.e. in the numen.

    Bukiet on Brooklyn Books

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Q: What did Jerry Seinfeld say when he walked into the ruins of an ancient Roman temple?

    A: Hello, numen.

    November 20, 2007

  • Ingenious.

    November 21, 2007

  • *groan* :-P

    November 21, 2007

  • where am I?

    February 9, 2010

  • genius loci

    May 4, 2014