9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[suh-blahym] /səˈblaɪm/
elevated or lofty in thought, language, etc.: Paradise Lost is sublime poetry.
impressing the mind with a sense of grandeur or power; inspiring awe, veneration, etc.:
Switzerland has sublime scenery.
supreme or outstanding:
a sublime dinner.
complete; absolute; utter:
sublime stupidity.
  1. of lofty bearing.
  2. haughty.
Archaic. raised high; high up.
the sublime.
  1. the realm of things that are sublime:
    the sublime in art.
  2. the quality of being sublime:
    the sublime of nature.
  3. the greatest or supreme degree.
verb (used with object), sublimed, subliming.
to make higher, nobler, or purer.
  1. to convert (a solid substance) by heat into a vapor, which on cooling condenses again to solid form, without apparent liquefaction.
  2. to cause to be given off by this or some analogous process.
verb (used without object), sublimed, subliming.
Chemistry. to volatilize from the solid state to a gas, and then condense again as a solid without passing through the liquid state.
Origin of sublime
1350-1400; (noun and adj.) < Latin sublīmis high, equivalent to sub- sub- + an element of uncertain origin, variously identified with līmis, līmus oblique or līmen lintel, threshold; (v.) Middle English sublimen < Old French sublimer < Latin sublimāre to raise, derivative of sublimis
Related forms
sublimely, adverb
sublimeness, noun
sublimer, noun
unsublimed, adjective
Can be confused
sublimate, sublime.
1. exalted, noble. 2. magnificent, superb, august, grand, gorgeous, resplendent, imposing, majestic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sublime
  • Great tragedies occur here, but there is also an ongoing theatre of the sublime and the ridiculous.
  • It is much more about our relationship to the bigger sublime picture of things.
  • It is a work of a sublime imagination, it's football from a team unbothered by the results of any referendum.
  • It's at exactly this sublime point, though, that he comes undone.
  • He seemed to believe that music had to be either sublime or ridiculous.
  • The sublime has been encapsulated in a fixed set of words-and that particular combination is neither negotiable nor mutable.
  • For the romantics the sublime sea represented freedom from stuffy, money-obsessed convention.
  • Not to mention the fact that they give us sublime and refined entertainment which foreigners are unable to appreciate.
  • There is a certain sublime quality to these protests, a feeling of divine purpose.
  • Whereas perhaps the pragmatists of the right may not feel their ends are sublime enough always to justify the baser means.
British Dictionary definitions for sublime


of high moral, aesthetic, intellectual, or spiritual value; noble; exalted
inspiring deep veneration, awe, or uplifting emotion because of its beauty, nobility, grandeur, or immensity
unparalleled; supreme: a sublime compliment
(poetic) of proud bearing or aspect
(archaic) raised up
noun the sublime
something that is sublime
the ultimate degree or perfect example: the sublime of folly
(transitive) to make higher or purer
to change or cause to change directly from a solid to a vapour or gas without first melting: to sublime iodine, many mercury salts sublime when heated
to undergo or cause to undergo this process followed by a reverse change directly from a vapour to a solid: to sublime iodine onto glass
Derived Forms
sublimely, adverb
sublimity (səˈblɪmɪtɪ) noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin sublīmis lofty, perhaps from sub- up to + līmen lintel
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 sublime

1580s, "expressing lofty ideas in an elevated manner," from Middle French sublime, from Latin sublimis "uplifted, high, lofty," possibly originally "sloping up to the lintel," from sub "up to" + limen "lintel."

The sublime (n.) "the sublime part of anything" is from 1670s. Sublime Porte, former title of the Ottoman government, is from French la Sublime Porte, literally "the high gate," a loan-translation of Arabic Bab 'Ali, title of the Ottoman court at Constantinople (cf. mikado).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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