no·​bil·​i·​ty | \ nō-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce nobility (audio) \

Definition of nobility

1 : the quality or state of being noble in character, quality, or rank
2 : the body of persons forming the noble class in a country or state : aristocracy

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of nobility in a Sentence

the nobility of his character They have shown great courage and nobility of purpose.

Recent Examples on the Web

Americans might not have a nobility but our dogs do, though the populist in all of us loves a happy, scrappy mutt. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Dog Days of Summer? Visit the New Museum of the Dog," 24 Aug. 2019 Vogueworld Kate Middleton Puts a Royal Twist On Nautical Style Sailing has always been a pastime for the nobility, and naturally, modern royals have their own way of dressing for the high seas. Vogue, "Kate Middleton Puts a Royal Twist On Nautical Style," 8 Aug. 2019 Her songs often focus on the nobility of small and mundane lives, people whose everyday struggles have a quiet, poetic dignity and sweet sadness. John Adamian,, "Shawn Colvin, marking 30th anniversary of debut album, coming to Stage One," 5 Aug. 2019 Inside the Yurt of Attila, artifacts from Hunnic tombs sat in cases next to reproductions of the characteristically oblong skulls of the Hunnic nobility. Jacob Mikanowski, Harper's magazine, "The Call of the Drums," 21 July 2019 By the 1780s, unemployment, food shortages, and high taxes had left the commoners desperate and destitute, while the wealthy nobility remained untouched. Ryan Prior And Erin Davis, CNN, "Bastille Day inspired centuries of civil disobedience in France. Here's why," 13 July 2019 Bernhardt, dressed in the style of Byzantine nobility, was flanked by white spaces, as though she had stepped out of the ether. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "How Posters Became Art," 1 July 2019 But in the early Middle Ages, when the hierarchy was largely a branch of the secular nobility, many bishops lived openly with wives and families. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Catholics Debate the Future of Priestly Celibacy," 27 June 2019 In times past, the European nobility would spend lavishly to draw up impressive (and often invented) pedigrees for themselves. Tim Flannery, The New York Review of Books, "Our Twisted DNA," 7 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nobility.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of nobility

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nobility

Middle English nobilite, from Anglo-French nobilité, from Latin nobilitat-, nobilitas, from nobilis

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nobility

Statistics for nobility

Last Updated

4 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nobility

The first known use of nobility was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nobility



English Language Learners Definition of nobility

: the quality or state of being noble in character or quality
: the group of people who are members of the highest social class in some countries


no·​bil·​i·​ty | \ nō-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce nobility (audio) \
plural nobilities

Kids Definition of nobility

1 : the quality or state of having a fine or admirable character
2 : high social rank
3 : the class or a group of people of high birth or rank

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on nobility

What made you want to look up nobility? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!