The Meaning of Noble: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of noble? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word noble, including its definition, usage, examples, and more!

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What does the word noble mean?

According to Merriam-Webster and other sources like the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language and Collins English Dictionary, the word noble has a variety of different meanings. First, it can be used as an adjective to describe people or things that have outstanding or illustrious qualities. This person might have an inert conduct of excellence of dignity, and may be described as having a noble heart, noble nature or noble spirit. Noble can also refer to having aristocratic blood or noble rank such as being born as a baron or feminine equivalent baroness, the title of duke, viscount, earl, or other such nobleman by noble birth. When someone describes a noble person, this can refer to someone who has a moral eminence or an inherent political status or hereditary class. This meaning is mostly used in the British isles, from the feudal period of the 16th century. During feudal times, those of noble personage were separated from peasants and considered of a superior quality of hereditary rank. This can also be used in military settings to describe a person of rank. 

A noble is also a term for an Old English gold coin. This was equivalent to 6 platinum shillings and 8 pence, or a third of a pound. In falconry, a noble falcon has long wings and captures its quarry by stooping on it from above. A noble gas refers to any of the elements of group 18 of the periodic table including krypton, argon, neon and xenon. These are monatomic and inert. A noble metal such as platinum is chemically inert or inactive especially toward oxygen, and resists oxidation. These include copper, silver, and gold, amongst others. The suffix ity can be added to noble to form nobility (n.). Noble has two syllables – no-ble, and the pronunciation of noble is nō′bəl. The word noble can be used in a variety of different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence in their different forms is a great way to memorize their definitions and add them to your vocabulary. 

Different languages also contain words that mean noble (adj.). You might notice that some of these words look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are when two words that mean something similar and different languages also look and sound similar. Cognates are formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations of noble is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Dutch: edel‎, adellijk‎, eervol‎, fatsoenlijk‎, nobel‎
  •  Portuguese: nobre‎
  •  Japanese: 偉い‎ (erai), 立派‎
  •  Russian: благоро́дный‎
  •  Swedish: ädel‎, nobel‎
  •  Spanish: noble‎
  •  West Frisian: eal‎
  •  Latin: pulcher‎, nobilis‎
  •  Hawaiian: aliʻi‎
  •  Catalan: noble‎
  •  Estonian: aatelik‎
  •  Mandarin: 高貴‎, 高贵‎ (gāoguì), 高尚‎ (gāoshàng)
  •  Scottish Gaelic: uasal‎, mòrdha‎, miathail‎, flathail‎, allail‎, òirdheirc‎
  •  Hebrew: יקר רוח‎ (y”kar ruakh), נאצל‎
  •  Hungarian: nemes‎
  •  Norwegian: edel‎
  •  Galician: nobre‎ (masc.) (f)
  •  Arabic: كَرِيم‎
  •  Czech: vznešený‎ (masc.), velkomyslný‎ (masc.), ušlechtilý‎ (masc.)
  •  Armenian: ազնիվ‎, վեհ‎, վեհանձն‎
  •  German: nobel‎, edel‎, großzügig‎, großmütig‎, hehr‎
  •  Georgian: კეთილშობილი‎, დიდსულოვანი‎, სულგრძელი‎
  •  Finnish: aatelinen‎, jalo‎, ylväs‎
  •  French: noble‎, aristocratique‎ (masc.) (f)
  •  Persian: شریف‎ (šarif)
  •  Norman: nobl’ye‎
  •  Turkish: soylu‎, asil‎
  •  Italian: nobile‎
  •  Serbo-Croatian: plemènit‎
  •  Macedonian: благороден‎
  •  Polish: szlachetny‎ (masc.)
  •  Esperanto: nobla‎
  •  Khmer: អភិជន‎ (a’pʰi’ cɔɔn)
  •  Irish: uasal‎
  •  Greek: αριστοκρατικός‎ (masc.)

What is the origin of the word noble?

According to Etymonline, the word noble has been used since the year 1200. This comes from the Old French noble and Latin nobilis, from the earlier Latin gnobilis meaning “knowable.” This comes from the Latin gnoscere, a verb meaning to come to know, and the Proto-Indo-European roots gno meaning to know. Noble has meant magnificent or stately since late c13, and worthy of honor since the mid-c14. The term noble savage has been used since c18 from Dryden, and the term noble gas has been used since 1902. 

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word noble?

There are many words that a person can use in place of the word noble. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a great way to expand your vocabulary and avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word noble is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  meritorious
  •  first-rate
  •  charitable
  •  bounteous
  •  humane
  •  supreme
  •  benign
  •  remarkable
  •  extraordinary
  •  stately
  •  lofty
  •  magnificent
  •  generous
  •  dignified
  •  great
  •  dignified
  •  distinguished
  •  eminent
  •  gracious
  •  virtuous
  •  splendid
  •  sublime
  •  cultivated
  •  imposing
  •  impressive
  •  august
  •  magnanimous
  •  excellent
  •  worthy
  •  courtly
  •  upright
  •  tolerant
  •  grand
  •  sympathetic
  •  great-hearted
  •  beneficent
  •  refined
  •  liberal
  •  reputable
  •  elevated
  •  preeminent
  •  honorable
  •  benevolent
  •  high-minded
  •  brilliant
  •  big

There are also many words and phrases that mean the opposite of the word noble. These opposite words are called antonyms, which are another quick and easy way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms of noble is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  unscrupulous
  •  inglorious
  •  discreditable
  •  ignoble
  •  infamous
  •  base
  •  ignominious
  •  fraudulent
  •  low
  •  shady
  •  despicable
  •  scandalous
  •  contemptible
  •  shabby
  •  miscreant
  •  unprincipled
  •  blackguardly
  •  corrupt
  •  putrid
  •  offensive
  •  disreputable
  •  unrespectable
  •  untrustworthy
  •  dishonorable
  •  devious
  •  treacherous
  •  crooked
  •  shameful
  •  disgraceful
  •  deceitful
  •  opprobious

Overall, the word noble means a person of hereditary aristocracy or noble blood in a political system, a person who has honorable qualities, as well as a former Brit gold coin. It can also refer to a subset of gases like helium and metals like sterling that have specific qualities. Using noble to refer to an English money of account and a person of specific birth began in the feudalistic stage of a country. 


  1. noble: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. NOBLE Synonyms: 108 Synonyms & Antonyms for NOBLE | Thesaurus 
  3. DISHONORABLE Synonyms: 36 Synonyms & Antonyms for DISHONORABLE | Thesaurus 
  4. noble | Origin and meaning of noble | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Noble | Definition of Noble | Merriam-Webster