noble

1 of 2

adjective

no·​ble ˈnō-bəl How to pronounce noble (audio)
1
a
: possessing outstanding qualities : illustrious
was a noble king
b
: famous, notable
noble deeds
2
: of high birth or exalted rank : aristocratic
… my sire is of a noble line …Samuel Taylor Coleridge
noble families
3
a
: possessing very high or excellent qualities or properties
noble wine
b
: very good or excellent
See that there be a noble supper provided …R. B. Sheridan
4
: grand or impressive especially in appearance
noble edifice
a noble cathedral
5
: possessing, characterized by, or arising from superiority of mind or character or of ideals or morals : lofty
a noble ambition
a noble cause
6
: chemically inert or inactive especially toward oxygen
a noble metal such as platinum
compare base entry 3 sense 2a
nobleness noun
nobly
ˈnō-blē How to pronounce noble (audio)
 also  -bə-lē
adverb

noble

2 of 2

noun

1
: a person of noble rank or birth
2
: an old English gold coin equivalent to 6 shillings and 8 pence
Choose the Right Synonym for noble

moral, ethical, virtuous, righteous, noble mean conforming to a standard of what is right and good.

moral implies conformity to established sanctioned codes or accepted notions of right and wrong.

the basic moral values of a community

ethical may suggest the involvement of more difficult or subtle questions of rightness, fairness, or equity.

committed to the highest ethical principles

virtuous implies moral excellence in character.

not a religious person, but virtuous nevertheless

righteous stresses guiltlessness or blamelessness and often suggests the sanctimonious.

wished to be righteous before God and the world

noble implies moral eminence and freedom from anything petty, mean, or dubious in conduct and character.

had the noblest of reasons for seeking office

Examples of noble in a Sentence

Adjective He was a man of noble character. It was noble of her to come forward with this information. Noun an elite school for children of nobles
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Royal experts and commentators have said the household’s intentions were candid, noble and well-meaning but that the resulting gray space has left people concerned. Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN, 7 Feb. 2024 With his stoic but noble bearing, his calm manner and his proficiency at whatever task awaits him, Hirayama could be mistaken for a strictly aspirational hero — a walking, if barely talking embodiment of tranquility and enlightenment. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 7 Feb. 2024 Ukraine’s fight reflects the most noble of American traditions. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, 31 Jan. 2024 Yet there remains a dangerously persistent belief that Lenin’s cause was noble but was turned by Stalin into something monstrous. David Harsanyi, National Review, 25 Jan. 2024 And while any individual scientist will fall short at one or more of these qualities for at least some—or, sadly, the entirety—of their careers, the practice of science is to always strive for these noble goals. Paul Sutter, Ars Technica, 10 Jan. 2024 Sorkin's high-IQ, rat-a-tat cocktail of noble sentiment, scalpel-sharp satire, and sports-as-a-metaphor-for-life drama was fueled by an innate love of language and a palpable fondness for the people who craft it for a living. Ew Staff, EW.com, 8 Jan. 2024 In this case, a noble yakuza whose careful character development over nearly two decades has earned him, and his game series, a steadily growing base of fans — and endless meme potential. Gene Park, Washington Post, 2 Feb. 2024 Those actions have obliterated his image as a noble idealist laboring to make the world safe for democracy and establish a secure postwar order. Thomas Doherty, The Conversation, 1 Feb. 2024
Noun
His chiaroscuro technique, which uses light and darkness for depth and has been compared to Rembrandt’s and Caravaggio’s, quickly won the admiration of King George III and other British nobles. María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post, 30 Jan. 2024 As such footwear became longer, Parliament passed a law in the mid-14th century forbidding all but the highest nobles to wear shoes or boots with a point longer than two inches. Ana María Velasco, National Geographic, 17 Jan. 2024 However, to return to the role of the emperor, Smith was pessimistic that slavery could be abolished, even in a monarchy, as such an act would upset the nobles. Iain Murray, National Review, 16 Dec. 2023 The glyph representing the Mayan calendar’s fourteenth month features the fruit, and Aztec nobles often received it as tribute. Alexander Sammon, Harper's Magazine, 16 Oct. 2023 Wearing a white uniform had been a tradition since 16th-century France, where the nobles wore it playing indoor jeu de paume. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 1 Sep. 2023 Monaco's royal family is no stranger to scandal, but the last few weeks have proven particularly tense for fans of the Monegasque nobles. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, 5 Sep. 2023 For centuries the dramatic appeal of the Amalfi Coast has attracted some of the most famous people in the world, from Roman nobles to legendary writers and celebrities. Jim Dobson, Forbes, 17 July 2023 The Roman Catholic Church was on the rise, military technology was changing, monarchs and bureaucrats were forging modern state administrations, and nobles were reviving large-scale architectural projects. Andrew Moravcsik, Foreign Affairs, 19 Apr. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'noble.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin nobilis well-known, noble, from noscere to come to know — more at know

First Known Use

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of noble was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near noble

Cite this Entry

“Noble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/noble. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

noble

1 of 2 adjective
no·​ble ˈnō-bəl How to pronounce noble (audio)
nobler -b(ə-)lər How to pronounce noble (audio) ; noblest -b(ə-)ləst How to pronounce noble (audio)
1
: famous, notable
noble deed
2
: of high birth or rank : aristocratic
3
: possessing very high qualities : excellent
4
: grand especially in appearance : imposing
a noble cathedral
5
: having or characterized by superiority of mind or character : magnanimous
a noble nature
6
: chemically inactive especially toward oxygen
noble metal
nobleness noun
nobly adverb

noble

2 of 2 noun
: a person of noble rank or birth

More from Merriam-Webster on noble

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