Definition of nous

1 \ ˈnüs also  ˈnau̇s How to pronounce ˈnau̇s (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 ˈnau̇s (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

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 next few games also serve a good opportunity to wave his creative nous for England manager Gareth Southgate to see., "Jack Wilshere Set For a New Contract After a Run of Good Performances," 22 Oct. 2017 As a result he has been praised for his tactical nous at Napoli, highlighted by him winning the Serie A manger of the season award for the 2015/16 season, as well as the best Italian manager award for the 2016/17 season., "West Ham Reportedly Set to Make Shock Move to Replace Slaven Bilic With Napoli Boss," 10 Sep. 2017 After 'that' Barcelona game, Wilshere was the present and future of England, a player who graced the game with the nous of a seasoned foreign midfield conductor but the bite of a typical English bulldog., "What Does the Future Hold for Gunners Favourite Jack Wilshere as He Reaches Crucial Stage of Career," 8 Aug. 2017

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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Time Traveler for nous

The first known use of nous was in 1678

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nous Encyclopedia article about nous

Comments on nous

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showing courage and determination

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