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
The noble practice also sometimes was—and still is—used as a loophole by charlatans. Rachel Lance, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Apr. 2024 Garland’s paeans to objectivity sound noble in theory, but the photojournalist’s lens has never been entirely neutral. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 16 Apr. 2024 Scottish composer Erland Cooper’s soaring score for the documentary hints at the end of the trailer that Billy and Molly have to part ways as the noble otter is seen to freely swim again in wild nature. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Apr. 2024 The original building that once stood here was a Georgian mansion built for the noble Bruce family in 1760. Emma Reynolds, Robb Report, 10 Apr. 2024 The noble idea behind NIL was allowing college athletes to monetize their name, image and license. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Apr. 2024 Still, Choi’s goal is ambitious—perhaps even noble—and belies the role she was appointed to fill: that of a caretaker CEO brought on to steady a company in turmoil. Nicholas Gordon, Fortune, 5 Apr. 2024 But Brando obliterated the rules of how to behave in public, rejecting the offering of stardom, and in that rejection seeming to stand for a higher calling, noble and troubled and freshly attractive. Ty Burr, Washington Post, 3 Apr. 2024 The princess flaunted both noble lineage and seemingly inexhaustible wealth from her mother, Clara, who was a granddaughter of Giovanni Agnelli, who founded Fiat, and a sister of Gianni Agnelli, the dashing Fiat chief. Alex Williams, New York Times, 11 Mar. 2024
Noun
Read More: The Surprising History of the Bidet Started with the Wealthy and Brothels As Assyrian nobles were spearing lions from their chariots for the sheer thrill of it, for example, ordinary people were left to develop their own workaday diversions. Cody Cottier, Discover Magazine, 5 Mar. 2024 McGregor plays Count Alexander Rostov, a Russian noble who escapes execution after the Soviet revolution but is placed under house arrest for life—living out his days in the attic of a fancy Russian hotel. Erik Kain, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 Wristwatches soon became popular among other royals and nobles—the women, anyway. The Editors, Robb Report, 28 Mar. 2024 Everyone from princes in Spain to nobles in Vienna to leading Renaissance figures in Italy knew about St. Patrick’s Purgatory. Lanta Davis and Vince Reighard, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Mar. 2024 The nobles have a valuable but inaccessible royal library that has gone untouched for ages. Carole V. Bell, NPR, 5 Mar. 2024 Every winter, like Punxsutawney nobles, biotech’s many thought leaders gather in San Francisco to pick apart the year that was and prognosticate about the one to come. Damian Garde, STAT, 20 Dec. 2023 Even if the monarchs in question understood the cultural disjunction, these movement of women from the Fertile Crescent to Egypt was in part motivated by signalling status to their own circle of nobles, who may not have been as conscious of these cross-cultural distinctions. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 6 July 2010 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

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 22 Apr. 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

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