Simple Definition of numinous
: having a mysterious, holy, or spiritual quality
Examples of numinous in a sentence
Her poetry is filled with a numinous beauty.
<some have sensed a numinous energy in the landscape around Sedona, Arizona>
Did You Know?
Numinous is from the Latin word numen, meaning "divine will" or "nod" (it suggests a figurative nodding, of assent or of command, of the divine head). English speakers have been using "numen" for centuries with the meaning "a spiritual force or influence." We began using "numinous" in the mid-1600s, subsequently endowing it with several senses: "supernatural" or "mysterious" (as in "possessed of a numinous energy force"), "holy" (as in "the numinous atmosphere of the catacombs"), and "appealing to the aesthetic sense" (as in "the numinous nuances of her art"). We also created the nouns "numinousness" and "numinosity," although these are rare.
Origin of numinous
Latin numin-, numen numen
First Known Use: 1647
Rhymes with numinous
Seen and Heard
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