Definition of nobility in US English:



  • 1The quality of being noble in character, mind, birth, or rank.

    • ‘Most of the characters reveal sorry weaknesses but also unsuspected bits of nobility.’
    • ‘But they wanted to be recognized for their nobility of character.’
    • ‘Audrey Hepburn is luminous, waif-like, but with nobility that itself transcended her character's station.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘I don't think Erica is programmed to understand nobility of character.’
    • ‘With all the nobility of her character, she kept Margaret's secret.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sport is used as a tool for defining so-called Australian nobility of spirit.’
    • ‘His face was reasonably happy and his standard expression seemed to be one of aloof nobility, even though he knew he wasn't noble.’
    • ‘She was reputedly of great beauty, and aside from that also possessed much grace, kindness, nobility, and, among other things, charm.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At such moments nobility and strength of character propel us way beyond our means to be kind and helpful.’
    • ‘There is a nobility to his character that the other villagers find almost impossible to understand.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Such a limitation requires a strong breed of man, however, with a quality of character and nobility of soul.’
    • ‘She was admired for that nobility of spirit, it seems.’
    virtue, goodness, honour, honesty, decency, integrity, magnanimity, generosity, selflessness, bravery
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  • 2usually the nobilityThe group of people belonging to the noble class in a country, especially those with a hereditary or honorary title.

    ‘a member of the English nobility’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He spent most of his life in the service of the English nobility, partly as a music tutor.’
    • ‘To this extent, the novel could be seen as a celebration of the values of the English nobility.’
    • ‘The prerogative of nobles was to command, and nobilities everywhere dominated the machineries of state.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the older nobility was losing income due to declining rents.’
    • ‘But the English nobility keep themselves to themselves and only dine with the pick of the bunch.’
    • ‘Instead, they were answerable to a complex of hereditary or franchise jurisdictions in the hands of the feudal 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.’
    • ‘Even he could be persuaded that a man's conduct was so markedly honourable as to justify elevation to the nobility.’
    • ‘Around this castle were the smaller houses of lesser nobility and the members of court.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the Czech Republic, the old nobility is enjoying a new lease of life.’
    • ‘With its glittering population of titled courtiers, it also symbolized a whole social system dominated by a privileged nobility.’
    • ‘At all levels of government, the nobility dominated decision making.’
    • ‘The night of 4 August also transformed the character of the French nobility.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Though the civil service was dominated by the nobility, it became progressively more open to commoners.’
    • ‘By insinuating himself into the French nobility, he systematically destroys the men who manipulated and enslaved him.’
    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).