Numinous is from the Latin word numen, meaning "divine will" or "nod" (it suggests a figurative nodding, of assent or of command, of the divine head). English speakers have been using numen for centuries with the meaning "a spiritual force or influence." We began using numinous in the mid-1600s, subsequently endowing it with several senses: "supernatural" or "mysterious" (as in "possessed of a numinous energy force"), "holy" (as in "the numinous atmosphere of the catacombs"), and "appealing to the aesthetic sense" (as in "the numinous nuances of her art"). We also created the nouns numinousness and numinosity, although these are rare.
Examples of numinous in a Sentence
Her poetry is filled with a numinous beauty.
some have sensed a numinous energy in the landscape around Sedona, Arizona
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'numinous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.