adj. no·bler, no·blest
1. Possessing hereditary rank in a political system or social class derived from a feudalistic stage of a country's development.
a. Having or showing qualities of high moral character, such as courage, generosity, or honor: a noble spirit.
b. Proceeding from or indicative of such a character; showing magnanimity: "What poor an instrument / May do a noble deed!" (Shakespeare).
3. Grand and stately in appearance; majestic: "a mighty Spanish chestnut, bare now of leaves, but in summer a noble tree" (Richard Jeffries).
4. Chemistry Inactive or inert.
1. A member of the nobility.
2. A gold coin formerly used in England, worth half of a mark.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin nōbilis; see gnō- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.