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[noo-muh-nuh s, nyoo-] /ˈnu mə nəs, ˈnyu-/
of, relating to, or like a numen; spiritual or supernatural.
surpassing comprehension or understanding; mysterious:
that element in artistic expression that remains numinous.
arousing one's elevated feelings of duty, honor, loyalty, etc.:
a benevolent and numinous paternity.
Origin of numinous
1640-50; < Latin nūmin- (stem of nūmen) numen + -ous Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for numinous
  • If you have had a numinous experience, maybe you don't have to go find the being who provided it.
  • Teetering tantalizingly between the numinous and the decorative, they make you wonder what he'll do next.
  • The mystery behind her numinous persona has never ceased to captivate audiences.
  • It moves him out of desperation toward the numinous.
  • For millennia it has held various meanings, many of them numinous.
  • The belief that in madness there may exist a core of numinous knowledge is a commonplace in all human societies.
  • But even the many defeats and fiascoes and dishonors added in some numinous way to his stature.
  • But some of us take this numinous reverence and express it through our metaphorical and poetic religious traditions.
British Dictionary definitions for numinous


denoting, being, or relating to a numen; divine
arousing spiritual or religious emotions
mysterious or awe-inspiring
Word Origin
C17: from Latin numin-,numen + -ous
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 numinous

"divine, spiritual," 1640s, from Latin numen (genitive numinis) "divine will," properly "divine approval expressed by nodding the head," from nuere "to nod," from PIE *neu- "to nod" (cf. Greek neuein "to nod") + -ous.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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