Definition of numen in English:



  • The spirit or divine power presiding over a thing or place.

    • ‘Carew's speaker chooses to drain the Christian supernatural of its numen.’
    • ‘In the work of the late Swaminathan, the cultural symbols are converted to serve the elusive numen with a formal language.’
    • ‘I feel as if one massive exercise of reason burnt me out, and now I'm moving in a world of numina, moved not by will but by the application of force.’
    • ‘As he wrote in ‘The Truth and Life of Myth,’ ‘The word numen I take from Rudolf Otto's The Idea of the Holy.’’
    • ‘Whatever numen is cast in the appropriate role depends on the personnel to hand.’
    • ‘There was neither numen, nor fear, nor ecstasy.’
    • ‘It is able to do this because of the numen, the specific energy stored up in the archetype.’
    deity, god, goddess, mother goddess, divine being, celestial being, supreme being
    View synonyms


Early 17th century: from Latin.