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American Dictionary of the English Language

Webster's Dictionary 1828

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Nobility


NOBIL'ITY, noun

1. Dignity of mind; greatness; grandeur; that elevation of soul which comprehends bravery, generosity, magnamimity, intrepidity, and contempt of every thing that dishonors character.

Though she hated Amphialus, yet the nobility of her courage prevailed over it.

They thought it great their sovereign to control, and named their pride, nobility of soul.

2. Antiquity of family; descent from noble ancestors; distinction by blood, usually joined with riches.

When I took up Boccace unawares, I fell on the same argument of preferring virtue to nobility of blood and titles, in the story of Sigismunda.

3. The qualities which constitute distinction of rank in civil society, according to the customs or laws of the country; that eminence or dignity which a man derives from birth or title conferred, and which places him in an order above common men. In Great Britain, nobility is extended to five ranks, those of duke, marquis, earl, viscount and baron.

4. The persons collectively who enjoy rank above commoners; the peerage; as the English nobility; French, German, Russian nobility