nubile

adjective

nu·​bile ˈnü-ˌbī(-ə)l How to pronounce nubile (audio)
ˈnyü-,
-bəl How to pronounce nubile (audio)
1
: of marriageable condition or age
nubile young women
2
: sexually attractive
used of a young woman
a nubile starlet
nubility noun

Examples of nubile in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Now every nubile deb has her eye on him, and our poor heroine doesn’t seem to stand a chance. Judy Berman, TIME, 16 May 2024 Allen’s dramatic assertions about the lusts of movie men for a nubile young woman are matched by his contemptuous depiction of her as a ditz out of her depth, especially as compared to the soulful rebel Gatsby, who throws her over for a younger girl (Gomez). Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 3 Apr. 2024 In an improbable turn of events, the son of Emmeline and Richard ends up getting stranded on the exact same island along with another nubile young castaway. Drew MacKie, Peoplemag, 30 Sep. 2022 Pearl is a mystery at first — seen from a distance in a second-story window, then observing the nubile visitors from afar. John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Mar. 2022 At 20, women play four-fifths of leads: Hollywood is very interested in them at their nubile prime. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, 3 Feb. 2022 Keenen Ivory Wayans directed this sendup of slasher films in which a vengeful killer stalks a group of nubile teens. Los Angeles Times, 4 Oct. 2019 The excavations unearthed hundreds of different female forms, ranging from demure matrons to nubile veiled dancers and girls at play. National Geographic, 29 Jan. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nubile.' 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

borrowed from French & Latin; French nubile, borrowed from Latin nūbilis "of an age suitable for marriage," from nūb-, stem of nūbere "(of a woman) to get married (to), contract a marriage" + -ilis -ile entry 1; nūbere perhaps going back to Indo-European *sneu̯bh-, whence also, from a causative derivative *snou̯bh-ei̯e-, Russian Church Slavic snoublʼju, snoubiti "to propose as a spouse, arrange a sexual partner (for)," Slovene snúbiti "to propose (a woman) as a spouse," Czech snoubit se "to get married"

Note: The linking of nūbere with this group of Slavic verbs has been objected to, on the grounds that their orientation is toward the suitor rather than the bride, and that the etymon is attested in only two Indo-European subfamilies. Ernout and Meillet (Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue latine) favor a connection with Latin obnūbere "to veil, cover (usually the head)," proposing that the original meaning of nūbere was approximately "to take the veil." This would further connect nūbere to nūbēs "cloud" (see nuance), though a difficulty here is that the best comparable item outside Latin is Welsh nudd "mist, haze," which would suggest a proto-form *(s)neu̯dh/ *(s)nou̯dh-, with aspirate d. If this were the case, the past participle of nūbere would be *nussus rather than the attested nuptus (whence nupta "married woman," from which nuptiae "marriage"; nuptial entry 1). The forms nuptus, etc., would have to be relatively late creations based on the present stem (though nuptiae is already known from the early Latin poet Ennius). See M. de Vaan, Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the Other Italic Languages (Brill, 2011). Compare also connubial.

First Known Use

1642, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of nubile was in 1642

Dictionary Entries Near nubile

Cite this Entry

“Nubile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nubile. Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition

nubile

adjective
: sexually mature
especially : of marriageable condition or age
used of young women
nubility noun
plural nubilities

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