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noble

[noh-buh l] /ˈnoʊ bəl/
adjective, nobler, noblest.
1.
distinguished by rank or title.
2.
pertaining to persons so distinguished.
3.
of, belonging to, or constituting a hereditary class that has special social or political status in a country or state; of or pertaining to the aristocracy.
4.
of an exalted moral or mental character or excellence:
a noble thought.
Antonyms: ignoble, base; vulgar, common.
5.
admirable in dignity of conception, manner of expression, execution, or composition:
a noble poem.
Synonyms: grand, dignified, august.
6.
very impressive or imposing in appearance:
a noble monument.
7.
of an admirably high quality; notably superior; excellent.
8.
famous; illustrious; renowned.
9.
Chemistry. inert; chemically inactive.
10.
Falconry. (of a hawk) having excellent qualities or abilities.
noun
11.
a person of noble birth or rank; nobleman or noblewoman.
Antonyms: commoner, serf, peasant.
12.
a former gold coin of England, first issued in 1346 by Edward III, equal to half a mark or 6s. 8d., replaced in 1464 under Edward IV by the rose noble.
13.
(in Britain) a peer.
Origin
1175-1225
1175-1225; Middle English < Old French < Latin (g)nōbilis ‘notable, of high rank’, equivalent to (g)nō-, base of (g)nōscere ‘to get to know, find out’ (see know1) + -bilis -ble
Related forms
nobleness, noun
nonnoble, adjective
overnoble, adjective
overnobleness, noun
overnobly, adverb
pseudonoble, adjective
Can be confused
Nobel, noble.
Synonym Study
4. Noble, high-minded, magnanimous agree in referring to lofty principles and loftiness of mind or spirit. Noble implies a loftiness of character or spirit that scorns the petty, mean, base, or dishonorable: a noble deed. High-minded implies having elevated principles and consistently adhering to them: a high-minded pursuit of legal reforms. Magnanimous suggests greatness of mind or soul, especially as manifested in generosity or in overlooking injuries: magnanimous toward his former enemies.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for noble
  • There are times when noble intentions actually yield noble results.
  • Being noble, I make exceptions to my moral codes from time to time.
  • We will continue to fight for our noble cause.
  • He is a gallant and noble warrior .
  • Cummins's noble account will ultimately draw readers into all sides of the story.
  • Most Geiger counters are filled with a noble gas, usually helium or argon.
  • Historically, daughters of aristocrats who were unable to marry into noble families ended up in high-class convents.
  • The aim is noble, and progress can be made, but the job will never be done.
  • By your father's calling, you are born into an exclusive, noble tradition.
  • The other is that they're noble and pure people uncorrupted by the decadence of modern society.
British Dictionary definitions for noble

noble

/ˈnəʊbəl/
adjective
1.
of or relating to a hereditary class with special social or political status, often derived from a feudal period
2.
of or characterized by high moral qualities; magnanimous a noble deed
3.
having dignity or eminence; illustrious
4.
grand or imposing; magnificent a noble avenue of trees
5.
of superior quality or kind; excellent a noble strain of horses
6.
(chem)
  1. (of certain elements) chemically unreactive
  2. (of certain metals, esp copper, silver, and gold) resisting oxidation
7.
(falconry)
  1. designating long-winged falcons that capture their quarry by stooping on it from above Compare ignoble
  2. designating the type of quarry appropriate to a particular species of falcon
noun
8.
a person belonging to a privileged social or political class whose status is usually indicated by a title conferred by sovereign authority or descent
9.
(in the British Isles) a person holding the title of duke, marquess, earl, viscount, or baron, or a feminine equivalent
10.
a former Brit gold coin having the value of one third of a pound
Derived Forms
nobleness, noun
nobly, adverb
Word Origin
C13: via Old French from Latin nōbilis, originally, capable of being known, hence well-known, noble, from noscere to know
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for noble
adj.

c.1200, "illustrious, distinguished; worthy of honor or respect," from Old French noble "of noble bearing or birth," from Latin nobilis "well-known, famous, renowned; excellent, superior, splendid; high-born, of superior birth," earlier *gnobilis, literally "knowable," from gnoscere "to come to know," from PIE root *gno- "to know" (see know). The prominent Roman families, which were "well known," provided most of the Republic's public officials.

Meaning "distinguished by rank, title, or birth" is first recorded late 13c. Sense of "having lofty character, having high moral qualities" is from c.1600. A noble gas (1902) is so called for its inactivity or intertness; a use of the word that had been applied in Middle English to precious stones, metals, etc., of similar quality (late 14c.), from the sense of "having admirable properties" (c.1300).

n.

"man of rank," c.1300, from noble (adj.). The same noun sense also is in Old French and Latin. Late 14c. as the name of an English coin first issued in reign of Edward III.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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