Definition of nous

1 \ ˈnüs also  ˈnau̇s How to pronounce nous (audio) \ : mind, reason: such as
a : an intelligent purposive principle of the world
b : the divine reason regarded in Neoplatonism as the first emanation of God
2 \ ˈnau̇s How to pronounce nous (audio) \ chiefly British : common sense, alertness

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Examples of nous in a Sentence

an Oxford don who was long on erudition but a little short on everyday nous
Recent Examples on the Web While John Stones is equally good in possession, the 25-year-old has not yet developed Alderweireld's defensive nous, which should come with age and experience., "Man City vs Tottenham: Picking the Best Available Combined XI Ahead of Saturday's League Clash," 15 Aug. 2019 His defensive nous allows the creativity to flow freely from virtuoso talents such as Eden Hazard and Luka Modric., "FIFPro Awards: Ranking the 6 Greatest World XIs," 5 Sep. 2019 The 37-year-old has built a strong reputation for his tactical nous since retiring from playing., "Rafa Benitez: 5 Managers Who Could Replace the Spaniard at Newcastle United Next Season," 24 June 2019 The industry will have to use its considerable commercial nous to hit its growth targets if Brexit provokes a deep rupture with the EU. The Economist, "Britain’s space industry, Brexit’s final frontier," 3 May 2018 Some creative nous, some flair – something to get England fans off their bloody seats for the first time in years., "FanView: Why Swansea's Alfie Mawson Offers More to England Than Any Other Uncapped Centre Back," 21 Mar. 2018 The nous of captain Lee Wallace, the longest serving current Rangers player at seven years, was sorely missed today., "Celtic, Rangers Old Firm Rivalry Fizzles With Sizable Gap Growing Between Two," 30 Apr. 2018 His establishment nous notwithstanding, Mr Pompeo is not playing Mr Trump so much as finding common cause with him. The Economist, "The Trump-whisperer," 15 Mar. 2018 But—as with art—creative spark and commercial nous, the individual and the team, made an awkward fit. The Economist, "Trevor Baylis died on March 5th," 16 Mar. 2018

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

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First Known Use of nous

1678, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nous

Greek noos, nous mind

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Cite this Entry

“Nous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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English Language Learners Definition of nous

British, informal : the intelligence and ability to make good judgments and decisions

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More from Merriam-Webster on nous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nous

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nous Encyclopedia article about nous

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