Definition of noblesse in English:

noblesse

noun

mass noun
  • The nobility of a foreign country.

    • ‘Explaining the setting, Wilsher says: ‘The balmy English summer evening seems the perfect place for Mozart's tale of marital infidelity, the privileges of the noblesse and the anguish of young love.’’
    • ‘The argument echoed historian G.M. Trevelyan's quip about the French Revolution: ‘if the French noblesse had been capable of playing cricket with their peasants, their chateaux would never have been burnt.’’
    • ‘And though not all redcoats are aristocrats, it is the noblesse and the classes abutting it who still run the show.’
    • ‘Undaunted by the opaque mix of fact and fantasy surrounding the French noblesse and their chateaux, he has transposed to France the lines of enquiry pioneered in his acclaimed Life in the English Country House.’
    • ‘You need to scroll down until you reach the Viceroy of Redonda's announcement of this year's annual prize, a list of the noblesse of that Kingdom, and the patent for the ennobling of Claudio Magris as the Duke of Seconda Mano.’

Phrases

  • noblesse oblige

    • Privilege entails responsibility.

      ‘the notion of noblesse oblige was part of the ethic of the country gentleman’
      • ‘For what it's worth, I think this reveals something quite striking about the sense of noblesse oblige within each man upon their graduation from Yale and entry into a life of privilege.’
      • ‘The dominant culture, masculinist and egalitarian, was opposed to any such display of noblesse oblige.’
      • ‘The thinkers and activists who built it insisted that the social provision of goods be treated as a right possessed by all people as citizens, rather than as an act of charity or noblesse oblige, a gift from some to others.…’
      • ‘Churchill's aristocratic background gave him a strong sense of noblesse oblige towards the poor, and although this was wrapped in a good deal of patronising terminology about ‘humble homes’ he was genuinely behind the drive.’
      • ‘What argument might convince the bottom-line conservative who is unmoved by noblesse oblige, but might understand Tocqueville's concept of enlightened self-interest?’
      • ‘In that sense the Queen Mother retained to her final days a spirit of noblesse oblige that may be increasingly out of fashion in today's Britain.’
      • ‘The spirit of noblesse oblige is not simply absent: it is incomprehensible to the rising generation.’
      • ‘Conservation had its roots in the noblesse oblige of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, in the actions of patrician class individuals such as Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot.’
      • ‘But with personal greed subsuming any sense of noblesse oblige or the national interest, it is time the hallowed romance of titled wealth was dispelled.’
      • ‘But that privileged upbringing is supposed to be accompanied by a bit of noblesse oblige.’

Origin

French, literally ‘nobility’.

Pronunciation

noblesse

/nəʊˈblɛs/