Definition of nobility in English:


nounPlural nobilities

mass noun
  • 1The quality of being noble in character.

    ‘a man of nobility and learning’
    • ‘But they wanted to be recognized for their nobility of character.’
    • ‘Yes, let's take the classics and teach about nobility, honor, character, courage, commitment.’
    • ‘He spent the entire film buried under a ton of make-up as Frankenstein's Monster but captured the essential nobility of his put-upon character really well.’
    • ‘The yardstick for gauging the inherent nobility of a character in major films these days is the slowness of the slow-motion in which their death is captured.’
    • ‘With all the nobility of her character, she kept Margaret's secret.’
    • ‘She was reputedly of great beauty, and aside from that also possessed much grace, kindness, nobility, and, among other things, charm.’
    • ‘At such moments nobility and strength of character propel us way beyond our means to be kind and helpful.’
    • ‘Such a limitation requires a strong breed of man, however, with a quality of character and nobility of soul.’
    • ‘Audrey Hepburn is luminous, waif-like, but with nobility that itself transcended her character's station.’
    • ‘His face was reasonably happy and his standard expression seemed to be one of aloof nobility, even though he knew he wasn't noble.’
    • ‘The basic premise of the story is that noble birth doesn't guarantee a noble person and nobility can be present in the most humble peasant.’
    • ‘Her long black hair was tied back in a thick braid, and her blue-gray eyes gazed into mine with a mixture of wisdom, kindness, and nobility.’
    • ‘I, of course, have remained above all this, not out of any nobility of character, but out of sheer laziness.’
    • ‘Most of the characters reveal sorry weaknesses but also unsuspected bits of nobility.’
    • ‘But if Othello dies a deluded and confused figure, would that not rob him of all dignity and nobility, turning him into the pitiful victim of a vicious, hostile society?’
    • ‘She was admired for that nobility of spirit, it seems.’
    • ‘There is a nobility to his character that the other villagers find almost impossible to understand.’
    • ‘I don't think Erica is programmed to understand nobility of character.’
    • ‘Sport is used as a tool for defining so-called Australian nobility of spirit.’
    virtue, goodness, honour, honesty, decency, integrity, magnanimity, generosity, selflessness, bravery
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  • 2The quality of belonging to the aristocracy.

    ‘after 1722 nobility was only acquired by service in the army or bureaucracy’
    • ‘In France noble privileges were all swept away in 1789 and hereditary nobility itself was abolished in 1790.’
    • ‘Other, less prestigious ennobling offices required two generations to serve in office before conferring transmissible nobility.’
    • ‘Though he recognized injustices connected to a system of hereditary nobility, this recognition did not animate his intellectual work.’
    • ‘The great ministerial dynasties, and many of the most dynamic servants of the Bourbon monarchy, acquired nobility through the purchase of office.’
    • ‘In Russia the equation of nobility and service was quite explicit: after 1722 nobility was only acquired by service in the army or bureaucracy.’
    1. 2.1usually the nobility The group of people belonging to the highest social class in a country; the aristocracy.
      ‘a member of the English nobility’
      • ‘The prerogative of nobles was to command, and nobilities everywhere dominated the machineries of state.’
      • ‘They enjoyed abundant mineral wealth, stunning yields of maize and cacao, as well as strong and enduring ties to the Mesoamerican nobilities of Oaxaca and central Mexico.’
      • ‘To this extent, the novel could be seen as a celebration of the values of the English nobility.’
      • ‘Around this castle were the smaller houses of lesser nobility and the members of court.’
      • ‘That there were fewer revolts in the second half of the century was due in no small part to a growing mutual understanding between rulers and nobilities, the history of which has attracted less attention than the revolts themselves.’
      • ‘By insinuating himself into the French nobility, he systematically destroys the men who manipulated and enslaved him.’
      • ‘The night of 4 August also transformed the character of the French nobility.’
      • ‘In the Czech Republic, the old nobility is enjoying a new lease of life.’
      • ‘Even he could be persuaded that a man's conduct was so markedly honourable as to justify elevation to the nobility.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the older nobility was losing income due to declining rents.’
      • ‘All this made her popular with the French nobility, eventually including the King and Queen of France.’
      • ‘For the landowning nobility, the portents were not good.’
      • ‘He spent most of his life in the service of the English nobility, partly as a music tutor.’
      • ‘At all levels of government, the nobility dominated decision making.’
      • ‘With its glittering population of titled courtiers, it also symbolized a whole social system dominated by a privileged nobility.’
      • ‘Yet sceptics argued that a large modern republic was not possible in Europe, with its overpowerful feudal nobilities and its hordes of miserable poor.’
      • ‘Though the civil service was dominated by the nobility, it became progressively more open to commoners.’
      • ‘Instead, they were answerable to a complex of hereditary or franchise jurisdictions in the hands of the feudal nobility.’
      • ‘But the English nobility keep themselves to themselves and only dine with the pick of the bunch.’
      • ‘The nobilities of the Italian states (except Piedmont) were broken by the process of unification, and the new state was run by a bourgeois political class of lawyers, civil servants, and landowners.’
      aristocracy, aristocrats, lords, ladies, peerage, peers, peers of the realm, peeresses, nobles, noblemen, noblewomen, titled men, titled people, titled women, members of the aristocracy, members of the nobility, members of the peerage, patricians
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Late Middle English: from Old French nobilite or Latin nobilitas, from nobilis ‘noted, high-born’ (see noble).