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

  • adj. Of or relating to a numen; supernatural.
  • adj. Filled with or characterized by a sense of a supernatural presence: a numinous place.
  • adj. Spiritually elevated; sublime.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Related to a numen; indicating the presence of a divinity
  • adj. Awe-inspiring; evoking a sense of the transcendent, mystical or sublime.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Evincing the presence of a deity.
  • adj. same as supernatural.

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

  • adj. of or relating to or characteristic of a numen
  • adj. evincing the presence of a deity


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

From Latin nūmen, nūmin-, numen.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Circa 1650, from Latin numen ("nod, divine sway, divinity") +‎ -ous


  • The term numinous is also used by C.G. Jung to depict a spiritual experience involving some kind of alteration of ego-based consciousness (i.e. "altered states"). - Think Free

  • The term numinous is often said to have been coined by the German Lutheran scholar Rudolf - Think Free

  • Just as many of the people who believe in numinous coincidence and supernatural intervention are secretly hoping to prove that it is they themselves who are the pet of the universe, so many of those who overcompensate for inferiority are possessed of titanic egos and regard other people as necessary but incidental.

    The Zealot

  • I think that our experience of the numinous is both undeniable and entirely biological: the state of spiritual peace is the result of tickling some evolved center of our brain, a bit of neurology that conferred a survival advantage on our ancestors whose numinous hallucinations of a higher order in the universe drove them to catch more antelopes, eat better, and have more babies.

    Boing Boing

  • You can read the book fairly quickly, but there are things you'll want to come back to -- some of the musings about destiny, and the place of what some call the numinous or the fates, some call the workings of God, in the way things turn out.

    Dewey's Treehouse

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


  • I think that this kind of passion is also connected, and that, in touching it we are connected to something numinous, which is actually a long way to go from a venture capital-baiting blog post, but there you are.

    manifesting the manifesto, part the first « raincoaster

  • The numinous is a reliably elusive theme for a writer, and Burnside hunts it down like an indefatigable lepidopterist. - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • But people too have long felt the beauty of trees; what the theologian Bruno Otto called their "numinous" quality.

    Why woodlands are wonderful

  • Perhaps it was just his way of tweaking the nose of a reaper he does not believe in, but Hitchens hinted at a belief – or a yearning, or an understanding: what he called a "numinous" or "transcendent" element of human experience.

    Tony Blair v Christopher Hitchens: fight the good fight


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  • " In the light of such new frameworks that are no more dependent on recourse to a numinous entity in order to sustain worldviews and moral imperatives, Iqbāl was left with little choice to critically engage with its foundations, as long as he wanted to sustain his conviction in the absolute inevitability of a religious grounding of all human pursuit."

    Source: “I Pine for True Closeness”: Muḥammad Iqbāl’s Uneasy Relationship with Christianity, and the Islamic Social Ideal

    January 22, 2018

  • A tremendously useful word. I learned it from C. S. Lewis.

    June 5, 2009

  • Yum.

    July 21, 2008

  • I like numnums.

    July 13, 2008

  • Damn :-(

    July 12, 2008

  • It took a second to realize this word was not numnums.

    July 12, 2008

  • "'Perhaps they are assembled in the grove for some religious ceremony,' said Martin. 'Nothing more numinous than a grove, as the ancient Hebrews knew.'"

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Nutmeg of Consolation, 241

    March 9, 2008

  • cites four examples for this word, and not one of them is by Rudolf Otto, perhaps because he originally wrote in German. His mysterium tremendum is pretty firmly associated with the numinous, though.

    October 24, 2007